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Groupon Promotes Kal Raman to Operating Chief

Groupon Inc. promoted Kal Raman to chief operating officer, enlisting the former EBay Inc. executive to jump-start growth in suffering overseas operations.

An e-commerce veteran who also worked at Inc., Raman joined Groupon in April as senior vice president in charge of sales and operations, the company said in a statement yesterday. Margo Georgiadis last held the COO job before she left in September 2011 to rejoin former employer Google Inc. after less than a year.

With oversight of global sales and operations, Raman is poised to help the company grow in markets outside the U.S., where sales declined in the most recent quarter, said Sameet Sinha, an analyst at B. Riley & Co. in San Francisco. Groupon reported third-quarter revenue last week that missed estimates and dragged its stock to a record low.

“They really did need a COO to come in and really fix the operations of the company at every function,” Sinha said in an interview. “They need to have a systematic and synchronized business model across the world.”

Groupon rose 2.2 percent to $2.79 at 10:01 a.m. in New York. The stock had dropped 87 percent this year through yesterday.

Raman, 44, said in an interview yesterday that he’ll work to apply to international markets the technology and sales strategies that are effective in the U.S. “We can reactivate our international business,” he said. “We have a playbook which is working, but by no sense of the imagination is it a finished product.”

Global Decline

In the most recent quarter, international revenue fell 10 percent to $276.9 million from the previous quarter.

Raman becomes Groupon’s third COO in two years, following the departures of Georgiadis and Rob Solomon, a former Yahoo! Inc. executive who briefly served as operating chief before leaving the daily deal site in 2011.

Groupon promoted another sales executive, Chris Muhr, to head the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, the company said in September.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason has sought to add veterans of e-commerce to his management bench, which includes at least two other Amazon alums, Chief Financial Officer Jason Child and Jeff Holden, a senior vice president of product management.

Raman expects to take over some responsibilities from the CEO, he said. “Hopefully I will take lots of burden off Andrew’s shoulders.”

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