Gilt Groupe Co-Founder Steps Down as CEO--Can a New CEO Save Them?

Gilt Groupe was a rapidly-growing pioneer in exclusive online luxury retail when it launched in 2007. But now, in 2012, with so many new, promising players in the e-commerce game, the site is likely under more pressure to compete. Despite rumors that they're struggling, however, the company has been working to expand, expects to turn a profit next year, and is hoping for an IPO--a goal that Gilt Groupe's board must have felt CEO and co-founder Kevin Ryan wouldn't be able to reach.
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Dhani Mau
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Gilt Groupe was a rapidly-growing pioneer in exclusive online luxury retail when it launched in 2007. But now, in 2012, with so many new, promising players in the e-commerce game, the site is likely under more pressure to compete. Despite rumors that they're struggling, however, the company has been working to expand, expects to turn a profit next year, and is hoping for an IPO--a goal that Gilt Groupe's board must have felt CEO and co-founder Kevin Ryan wouldn't be able to reach.
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Gilt Groupe was a rapidly-growing pioneer in exclusive online luxury retail when it launched in 2007. But now, in 2012, with so many new, promising players in the e-commerce game, the site is likely under more pressure to compete. Despite rumors that they're struggling, however, the company has been working to expand, expects to turn a profit next year, and is hoping for an IPO--a goal that Gilt Groupe's board must have felt CEO and co-founder Kevin Ryan wouldn't be able to reach.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Ryan and Gilt Groupe's board "agreed about two months ago he should step aside in favor of a new CEO with strong operations and e-commerce skills." They're still looking for a replacement, who will be the company's third CEO in two years.

Sources tell WSJ that Ryan has had "other ventures" taking up much of his time, and will likely become co-chairman of Gilt's board along with former CEO Susan Lyne, who Ryan stepped up to replace in 2010.

Those are just a couple of examples of various internal shakeups the company has seen. In January, it laid off about 90 employees. It also recently shuttered full-priced menswear offshoot Park & Bond, which Ryan launched. Still, Gilt is expected to turn a profit next year. So perhaps its IPO plan will work out, assuming it doesn't come across as unstable and risky to investors with all of these changes and adjustments. Then again, with strong competitors like Fab, Zulily, and Vente-Privee, Gilt may have its work cut out for them.