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Andy Mason, the Groupon boss dubbed 'worst CEO of 2012', leaves company 'to spend time with family. Just kidding, I was fired'

Shares in the company jumped after the once-lauded Andrew Mason, who appeared on the cover of Forbes magazine in 2011, announced his resignation

It used to be the go-to website for bargain hunters who wanted cut price goods or a cheap spa weekend, and even a popular way for small businesses to get themselves noticed with one-off deals for new customers.

But Groupon’s fortunes are on the slide. Following the announcement of a $81m fourth quarter loss and a 24 per cent crash in its share price in just one day, the company’s CEO Andrew Mason was ousted from his position.

The 32-year-old, dubbed the “Worst CEO of 2012” and mocked by media commentators for his “goofball antics” which “come off more like a big kid than a company leader”, admitted his mistakes in a touching resignation letter to his employees.

“After four-and-a-half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I've decided that I'd like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today,” he wrote yesterday.

Investors can’t have been amused by the multimillionaire’s jocular manner, given that the Groupon’s shares have lost 77 per cent of their value since it went public in 2011. A year earlier, he turned down a $6bn acquisition offer from Google.

They must have been baffled by his esoteric reference to a notoriously difficult videogame from the early 90s. “I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through,” he mused, going on to joke about taking some time off to go to “fat camp” to “lose my Groupon 40”.

But he did reassure his staff: “You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I'm getting in the way of that.”

Mr Mason’s letter of resignation was not the first to cause such a stir. Many disgruntled workers have used their final days to issue a parting shot to their colleagues, an apology for their incompetency, or even an exposé of their firm’s inner workings. Click here for examples.