TODAY   |  March 03, 2013

Groupon CEO leaves with severance package of $378.36

Andrew Mason is walking away from Groupon after nearly five years, with an exit that made headlines and a severance package that doesn’t seem like too much – until those stock options get a closer look. TODAY’s Jenna Wolfe reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> frormer groupon ceo andrew mason is out of a job. fired after four years oat the helm.

>> here is the deal, lester. 32-year-old mason was never like most chief executives, and neither was the severance package from groupon.

>> you are fired.

>> the two words that no one likes to hear, unless, of course, you are a ceo of a major company. then getting fired could be the best thing that ever happened to you or your bank account .

>> when ceos leave a company, they usually leave their company a lot more wealthy than when they first started.

>> take a look at some of the biggest so-called golden parachutes . the big payouts executives receive. groupon ceo andrew mason is walking away with a retirement package of $378. oh, and 36 cents. some call it a lead parachute.

>> when groupon went ipo, andrew sold a bunch of his stock, which gave him to $20 million. and he is sitting on shares worth $213 million. and that parachute is definitely not lead.

>> he wrote the best corporate go ahe good-bye letter of all time. after 4 flafl intense and wonderful years as ceo of group groupon, i decided i would like to spend more time with my family. just kidding. i was fired. if you wondered why, you haven't been paying attention, from controversial metrics to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a strong price that's hovering around one quarter our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. as ceo, i'm accountable.

>> this is refreshing as so many ceos pass the buck .

>> we know what they say on wall street .

>> greed, for lack of a better word, is good.

>> in this case, honesty might be the best policy. mason also told employees not to be concerned about him, that he's "okay" with having failed at this part of the journey. part of that could be the $20 million he's sitting on.

>> not bad when you have a cushion like that. makes it a little easier.

>> tweet whatever you want to tweet.

>> i always feel sorry for people who really do leave to spend more time with