Taking control of a ship’s wheel and leading the crew to safety can be extremely difficult, especially during storms. This is why top executives and world-class CEOs are in high demand. They execute. If not, they won’t remain at the helm for very long.
Leadership gone awry
Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) co-founder and former CEO Andrew Mason was fired in February due to “controversial accounting techniques, (Groupon’s) failure to meet its own financial projections, and (Groupon’s) deep and dramatic stock decline.” The following chart portrays the company’s plight.
The day after Mason was fired, Groupon’s stock price rose about 4%. Although a cause and effect relationship between Groupon’s recent success and Mason’s firing can’t be proven, a correlation likely exists.
I used to think that Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) had no chance to succeed, especially after JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) purchased Bloomspot, a company similar to Groupon, in order to integrate deals with its credit card business segment.
However, with new management, Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN)’s focus is shifting. Instead of mass-emailing coupons to its subscriber base, Groupon now utilizes a pull strategy in which it uploads deals to its websites for customers to access at their convenience. Further, Groupon is more heavily targeting the mobile market. Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE:DB) analyst Ross Sandler expects Groupon’s mobile apps and sales to boost revenue 53% from its 2012 level through 2015.
While Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) is on the right course, its new captain must prove that Groupon can sail with the best.
Good leadership generates value
Known as the King of Wall Street, Jamie Dimon serves as the CEO and Chairman of investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM). He took control of the helm in 2006 and endured many trying tests, particularly during the market downturn leading into 2009. Thanks to his cost cutting measures, foresight, and leadership, though, the firm is trading near all-time highs—while competitors have yet to reach pre-recession levels.
For example, while competitors were offering subprime mortgages to boost profits, Dimon decided to steer clear. Why? He anticipated that the subprime market would likely collapse. He was right.
As a result of his foresight, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) greatly boosted its balance sheet strength by acquiring fellow investment bank Bear Stearns. The day of the acquisition, Bear Stearns closed at $30 per share, but JPMorgan acquired it for only $2 a share.
Currently, Dimon must contend with the Fed’s decision to artificially hold interest rates low. In his most recent letter to shareholders, Dimon said that JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) could make an extra $5 billion if rates were to rise 3%. If that comes to pass, investors are in for a nice treat.
Transformational leaders carving a path
Marissa Mayer, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)’s new CEO, is turning heads — and for good reason. Since assuming her role, Yahoo! is performing off of the charts.
Mayer is navigating Yahoo! in a fierce battle against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other tech firms like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). To remain competitive, she is streamlining businesses processes, cutting unpopular services, and racking up acquisitions.For example, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) purchased 12 firms so far this year — six times its total acquisitions in 2012. Its goals: acquire skilled workers, develop a mobile presence, and revive a once-dominant giant.
With $1.2 billion cash on hand, investors may see even more Mayer acquisitions before year’s end. And if Mayer and Yahoo! can generate revenue and build synergies among its recent acquisitions, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) will continue to beat earnings estimates. Under Mayer, Yahoo! is back on track.