Daily deals giant Groupon has hired Google (goog) executive Margo Georgiadis as its new chief operating officer, as first reported by Crain's Chicago. She currently is Google's highest-ranking officer in Chicago, where she serves as a VP of global sales planning and technology.
Groupon founder and CEO Andrew Mason has been serving for a new number two since Rob Solomon quit last month, officially because he wanted to return to Northern California (some reports suggested he and Mason weren't on the some page, while others wondered if the former Yahoo exec was really up to the task of running such a large operation).
So Georgiadis becomes Sheryl Sandberg for the daily deals world. Well, unless Facebook really scales its Deals platform, which would make Sheryl Sandberg the Sheryl Sandberg of the daily deals world.
The interesting part of this, of course, is that Google offered to buy Groupon last year for $6 billion, but was rebuffed. Groupon now is rumored to be prepping an IPO that could value the company at upwards of $25 billion, having even hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as lead underwriters. Hiring Georgiadis is a vital next step, since public market investors would be loathe to buy into a company whose senior management is unsettled. Expect it will take Georgiadis a few months to settle in, and then perhaps an S-1 could be passing through Edgar...
Prior to joining Google in October 2009, Georgiadis spent nine months as a principal with consumer-focused private equity firm Synetro Capital. Before that, she was chief marketing officer and executive VP of card products for Discover Financial Services. Georgiadis also is listed as a board member of apparel retailer Jones Group.