LivingSocial loses another top executive as chief financial officer steps down

District-based online deals purveyor LivingSocial is set to lose another top executive as John Bax prepares to leave the company after nearly four years as chief financial officer.

The departure comes as LivingSocial looks to replace chief executive Tim O’Shaughnessy, who announced in January that he would exit the company he started seven years ago as soon as a successor is named. A spokeswoman said that search is still ongoing.

Bax joined the company as chief financial officer in November 2010 as its business selling discounts to spas, restaurants and merchants in daily e-mails was beginning a meteoric rise. The company raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors and acquired competitors across the globe.

But demand for daily deals eventually cooled and the company was forced to shutter some overseas businesses and sell others, lay off large swaths of its workforce and hunt for a business model that could replicate its early success.

“On the one hand, you see a company that basically didn’t exist five years ago and built itself to be one with a billion in turnover and several thousand employees and one of the fastest growing companies D.C. has seen,” Bax said in an interview.


LivingSocial Chief Financial Officer John Bax will step down after four years at the District-based company. (Photo courtesy of LivingSocial)

“On the other hand, the industry of what daily deals is isn’t as big as everyone hoped it would be. The competitors have shaken out to basically where there are two of us left,” he added, referring to LivingSocial and Chicago-based Groupon.

Bax has been planning to leave LivingSocial since late last year, he said, and the company has worked since then on a transition plan that includes appointing Dan Federico, the company’s treasurer and vice president of finance, as an interim replacement.

Stepping down will allow Bax to be near his wife and three children, ages 7, 8 and 10, who reside in Tulsa, Okla. During his tenure at LivingSocial, Bax would live in Washington from Monday to Thursday before hopping a plane back to his family on the weekend. His family will now relocate to Scottsdale, Ariz., for Bax’s next gig, which has yet to be announced.

His last day will be at the end of July.

“John has been a valuable member of our team and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” the company said in a statement.

Steven Overly covers the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital in the Washington region for The Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication. In that capacity, he has written about start-up struggles, investment trends and major drug discoveries.
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