x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Changing of the guard at Groupon Middle East

Change of management at Groupon Middle East comes at a time of intense competition among daily deals websites.

The Groupon headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP
The Groupon headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP

There has been a change of guard at Groupon Middle East, less than six months after the launch of the discounts website in the UAE.

The offshoot of the US-headquartered site has replaced its regional managing director, and appointed a new chief executive to oversee Middle East operations.

Groupon offered its first UAE promotion in March this year, but has failed to gain significant ground on Cobone, the local leader in the daily deals market. The shakeup of its senior management in the Middle East comes a time of intense competition among similar 'group-buying' sites.

Ainsley Duncombe, who co-founded the discounts site LowCostDubai.com, took up the position as chief executive of Groupon Middle East on August 1st, The National has learned.

The executive is understood to have replaced Faisal Haq, who was previously managing director of Groupon Middle East.

Mr Duncombe confirmed that Mr Haq had left Groupon. Mr Haq declined to comment when contacted by The National.

Groupon rose to prominence last year, when it walked away from a $6 billion takeover offer from the web search giant Google.

The site, which offers daily discount deals in hundreds of cities across the world, is the number one group buying site globally. It has filed documents for a much-anticipated initial public offering, which could set a value for the company as high as $25 billion.

But the rise of Groupon has seen a number of competitors spring up; there are up to 20 'group-buying' websites in the Middle East region along, according to some estimates.

Such competition has prompted management changes in other markets.

It emerged this month that Groupon's joint venture in China, Gaopeng, is laying off some staff due to the intense competition from other players, accord to Reuters quoting the 21st Century Business Herald.

 

bflanagan@thenational.ae