A Fight Brews Between WeWork and SoftBank, As Adam Neumann Faces Pressure to Step Down
According to a new WSJ report, members of WeWork’s board, involving co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann, are preparing to pressure Neumann to step down, and alternatively become We’s, non-executive chairman.
The move, states the outlet, would permit him to stay at the company he developed into one of the country’s most valuable startups.
However, he would include fresh leadership to seek an IPO that would bring We the cash it requires to keep up its blazing growth.
The WSJ and Bloomberg are stating that it is SoftBank, particularly that wants Neumann to step down.
Neither WeWork or SoftBank is commenting publicly about it.
Let us back up a minute first, though, and view who is involved and which way this could go.
Some days ago, Business Insider placed together a helpful cheat sheet about WeWork’s board members that may hint at their loyalty.
1) Ronald Fisher — the vice chairman at SoftBank Group after establishing SoftBank Capital. Joined SoftBank’s board last year; obviously, he’s going to side with SoftBank.
2) Lewis Frankfort — chairman of a fitness studio chain, called Flywheel Sports and has been a board member of WeWork for about five years. We ought to think he would stick with Neumann out of loyalty.
3) Benchmark, which original backed WeWork in 2012, is represented on the board by Bruce Dunlevie, the originating partner of the venture firm.
Benchmark may not want to battle with SoftBank if it assumes it has staying power.
4) Steven Langman – who is the co-founder of private equity firm Rhône Group, has ties that go way back with Neumann, and he has profited richly from the association, we would guess he is on Team Neumann.
5) Mark Schwartz is a previous Goldman Sachs exec who walked off the board of SoftBank at the beginning of this year but who remains on WeWork’s board. He is though a confidante of SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.
6) John Zhao, the chairman and CEO of Hony Capital, who partnered with SoftBank and WeWork to build a standalone entity called WeWork China back in 2017.
That being said, SoftBank’s take on this matter is justified as despite the approximately $10billon, which would be nothing cared to the financial loss of WeWork falls apart.
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