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10 Ways to Turn Around Groupon

9. Put the Control Issues Behind You

There remain lots of questions hanging over the company about proper financial controls. These simply must be put behind the company. CFO Jason Child can't do this himself. He'll need the help of the next CEO.

10. Hire a 'Wise' CEO Who Is Trusted

The next CEO must engender confidence among investors. He or she doesn't have to be old, but they must be wise. They must send a clear signal that someone talented sees the opportunity at Groupon and will "fix" Groupon to properly address that massive opportunity. This will help investors believe again in the story that they originally fell in love with.

However, with all this said, there might never be another CEO for Groupon. Andrew Mason as CEO wasn't holding this company back. He wasn't a distraction to Groupon employees from delivering.

Therefore, why did Mason leave? I think it's because, by announcing Eric Lefkofsky and Ted Leonsis as interim co-CEOs, I think Groupon put itself on the block today.

I think that announcement was code for "Hey, Google and Yahoo, would you pretty please reconsider making an offer for our company?"

Lefkofsky has shown that he wants to win and go for a big payday but he's also eminently practical. I don't think he'd care a whit about selling his company at the bottom if he thought he could get his entire investment liquid immediately. I think Brad Keywell would be in the same boat. I also think a guy like Ted Leonsis would love to just move on from the company, even if he felt he was leaving some money on the table by selling the company to Google below their prior famous $6 billion price.

If there was a serious offer out there, I think Lefkofsky and Leonsis would listen. And then the buyer could worry about the turnaround of Groupon.

At the time of publication the author is long GRPN, AAPL and YHOO.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Eric Jackson is founder and Managing Member of Ironfire Capital and the general partner and investment manager of Ironfire Capital US Fund LP and Ironfire Capital International Fund, Ltd. In January 2007, Jackson started the world's first Internet-based campaign to increase shareholder value at Yahoo!, leading to a change in CEOs in 2007. He also spoke out in favor of Yahoo!'s accepting Microsoft's buyout offer in 2008. Global Proxy Watch named Jackson as one of its 10 "Stars" who positively influenced international corporate governance and shareowner value in 2007.

Prior to founding Ironfire Capital, Jackson was President and CEO of Jackson Leadership Systems, Inc., a leadership, strategy, and governance consulting firm. He completed his Ph.D. in the Management Department at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York, with a specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Governance, and holds a B.A. from McGill University.

He was previously Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at VoiceGenie Technologies, a software firm now owned by Alcatel-Lucent. In 2004, Jackson founded the Young Patrons' Circle at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, which is now the second-largest social and philanthropic group of its kind in North America, raising $500,000 annually for the museum. You can follow Jackson on Twitter at or @ericjackson.

You can contact Eric by emailing him at
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