- The 42-year-old has spent the past decade at Zappos in various roles including COO and CEO.
Groupon Inc. has named Kedar Deshpande as its new chief executive officer, effective Dec. 10. He succeeds Aaron Cooper, who has been the company’s interim CEO. Deshpande, 42, a veteran at Zappos, has spent the past decade at the Amazon-owned online retail company, in a variety of roles.
Deshpande, then the chief operating officer for Zappos, took over as CEO in August 2020, shortly after the company abruptly announced Tony Hsieh’s retirement after 21 years at the helm. Three months later, Hsieh, 46, died after sustaining injuries from a house fire in New London, Connecticut. In addition, Deshpande held several other senior leadership positions across the retailer’s marketing, product, tech and service functions.
Last year, Deshpande was instrumental in opening a Zappos office in Los Angeles “characterized as a creative studio,” a Forbes report said. He told Footwear News that “the team there is tasked with developing content across multiple platforms, but with a particular focus on engaging consumers on social media.” He told the shoe magazine that they “put in a dedicated social team” in Los Angeles because of the audience the retailer wanted to reach.
“Kedar has a strong track record of driving growth and operational excellence, and brings significant e-commerce leadership experience to Groupon,” chairman Ted Leonsis said in a company release. “We believe these characteristics coupled with his passion for people and culture, will allow Kedar to successfully lead Groupon into its next chapter of growth.”
In a statement, Deshpande said “he is honored to take the leadership role” at a time when “Groupon is at a pivotal moment in its journey to become the destination for local.” Deshpande grew up in Aurangabad. He came to the U.S. for a master’s degree in computer engineering at the University of Nevada Reno. Before Zappos, he worked as a Software Engineer for General Electric and PepsiCo. He completed his undergraduate degree in India at Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad.
Deshpande now joins an elite club of India-born executives, including Google’s Sundar Pichai, IBM’s Arvind Krishna, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen, Amway Global’s Milind Pant, Nokia’s Rajeev Suri, VMware’s Raghu Raghuram, and Twitter’s CEO Paras Agrawal, who was appointed to the position on Nov. 29, after Jack Dorsey stepped down. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Agrawal has spent a decade with Twitter since joining in October 2011 as a Distinguished Software Engineer after completing his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University. Before he was appointed CEO, he served as the social media company’s chief technology officer.