Shakeups

Kevin Ryan Asks Jetsetter CEO Drew Patterson to Step Down After ‘Mutiny’ From Staffers

Mr. Patterson via @jetsetdrew

Gilt Groupe founder Kevin Ryan and chairman Susan Lyne spent Monday at the offices of Jetsetter, a deals site for luxury travel that operates independently under the Gilt Groupe umbrella. When the day was done, the Jetsetter board, where Mr. Ryan serves as chairman, approved a bold decision in response to an exodus of six senior executives and pervasive frustration among Jetsetter’s nearly 90 employees. “More than half of us are looking to leave within the next month, at which point the business won’t be operational,” a Jetsetter employee told Betabeat last week, recounting “mutiny” among staffers.

“Drew [Patterson, the company's CEO and cofounder] is going to step down effective immediately,” Mr. Ryan told Betabeat by phone this morning. In his stead, Mr. Ryan named Rob Deeming, Gilt Groupe’s director of strategy and operations, and Mr. Ryan’s former “chief of staff,” as acting general manager of Jetsetter. Mr. Deeming had been in charge of Jetsetter’s UK office, which was launched last September.

Mr. Ryan said the change at the top was motivated by turnover and morale. “Too many people have left. When you’re the CEO, you’re responsible for that. We’ve had a lot of communication over the last six months on this issue. At a certain point, for myself, you make a change.”

Interviews with staffers, who spoke under condition of anonymity last week, painted the picture of a company hampered by Mr. Patterson’s and CTO Colin Kroll’s unwillingness to listen to and implement other people’s ideas–at the expense of employees eager to grow the brand. The initiatives that the duo had put forward, such as a UK office, had flopped, sources said. “They talk to themselves and they think they’re smarter than everybody, but they don’t know how their customer works,” said another Jetsetter staffer, referring to Mr. Patterson and Mr. Kroll. “We have great members, we want to keep them happy.” Read More

Discount Daze

Gilt Groupe’s Obsession with All Things Vertical: ‘We Plow Through 100 Ideas a Week’

Mr. Deeming, via Crunchbase

What’s life like for Rob Deeming, Kevin Ryan’s “chief of staff” at Gilt Groupe? In a word: busy. The 33-year-old’s job centers around what seems like Gilt’s primary objective these days: launching new verticals as its core discount business matures and e-commerce competitors multiply.

In an interview with Mr. Deeming, a Brit with a Harvard MBA, The Street reports that the majority of Gilt growth comes from “a dizzying array” of new full-priced verticals, such as Jetsetter, Gilt Taste, and Park & Bond, which are expected to rake in $100 million combined within the next fiscal year. Gilt City, meanwhile, will account for 10 percent of overall revenue.

Dizzying seems like the right word to describe the pace. Mr. Deeming told the Street, “Now we plow through 100 ideas a week,” Read More