Katz, vice president and general manager of Groupon, one of the most successful e-commerce companies, has announced that he will be leaving the company at the end of August to take up the position of senior vice president and general manager of Fanatics, the rapidly emerging sports apparel e- commerce site.
/ By Stanley Green /
David Katz has apparently set the cat among the pigeons at Groupon, where, according to industry reports, his drive and versatility, especially in the fast-growing mobilesector has played a major role in the company’s drive to develop their site away from the now familiar “daily deal “and more in the direction of becoming a central hub for local and international mobile commerce.
Now with Katz, after a few days of intense industry speculation, finally public his making the decision to transfer his considerable talents and energies to the sports commerce sector at Fanatics, Groupon will now have to face up to the task of finding a replacement to fill his shoes. Reports are that they have already begun to put out feelers within the industry.
A spokesperson for Groupon finally confirmed the news of Katz’s imminent departure, confirming the rumors that he will indeed be leaving the company at the end of the month to take another position, although naming no names. “Groupon have already begun a search for a new leader of our Consumer Mobile division. In the meantime will continue to enjoy the benefits of their deep and talented mobile development team will now report to our Senior Vice President of Product Development Jeff Holden, whilst remaining confident and excited about the future for one of the fastest-growing Mobile operations in the industry.” The spokesperson summed up in an online statement.
David Katz’s decision to leave Groupon and join Fanatics one of the rising stars of the rapidly developing sports apparel e-commerce sector can be regarded as a coup for the company he brings with him considerable experience in mobile trading.
Just last month, Fanatics raised an additional $170 million in venture capital bringing the company’s estimated value to just over $3.1 billion, with some of the current funding coming from online marketing portal Alibaba and Temasek of Singapore.
Fanatics are part of Kynetic, and online trading conglomerate owned by Michael G. Rubin well known online as the founder of GSI Commerce.
Beginning their online presence thanks to investments amounting to $225 million that came from Andreessen Horowitz, Insight Venture Partners and the Bank of America, Fanatics have established a comprehensive network of sports orientated commerce sites, focusing mainly on apparel, with a number of satellite specializing in different areas of sports and sports apparel.
Industry onlookers predict that the acquisition of Katz on to the team will allow them to take a much larger and more rapid entry into mobile marketing, which, in itself, is the most logical step for the company.
David Katz has been on the team at Groupon since April 2011, only recently taking on the role of vice president in charge of mobile operations of mobile. Prior to taking up a position Katz acted as both vice president and general manager in Groupon’s retail solutions sector.
Previous to joining Groupon, Katz spent six years working with online browsing giant Yahoo, with the last three holding down the post as vice president in charge of mobile operations.
Meanwhile at Groupon, the company’s management and reportedly attention to keep a brave face on a situation only recently having to recover from being forced to part company with their co-founder and CEO Andrew Mason in March of this year.
The question is whether Katz will be more missed than Mason at Groupon, with his in depth knowledge of mobile technology and marketing procedures they are liable to find difficult if not impossible to replace.