WeWork CEO Neumann facing boardroom coup?

September 23, 2019 | Headlines, Venture Capital

WeWork Board members may be plotting the removal of CEO Adam Neumann after the company put off its IPO.

CEO Adam Neumann may be forced out if some members of his company’s board have their way, reports Bloomberg.

According to unnamed sources, SoftBank Group head honcho Masayoshi Son was pushing for Neumann’s exit.

WeWork’s botched IPO the cause?

WeWork has postponed its much-hyped IPO to the year-end, likely exciting the ire of investors. At issue is the company’s valuation, which could be $15 billion or less. That’s a far cry from the $47 billion pegged in a January fundraiser.

Also, investors have balked at Neumann’s control over the company and certain governance issues.

Further, the shared office space company has not yet reported a profit, though it has raised over $12 billion to date. Last year, WeWork reported losses of $1.61 billion on revenue of $1.82 billion.

Additionally, Neumann reportedly smoked marijuana on a private jet last summer.

Adam Neumann can remove his full board

Given Neumann’s vice-like control on voting power, however, a boardroom coup may be a pipe dream. Based on his current holdings, Neumann can choose to replace his whole board. Neumann maintains voting control through a three-class share structure.

There’s a precedent, however, of companies getting rid of temperamental or controversial CEO’s. Benchmark Capital, an investor in WeWork, and other institutions succeeded in removing Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick before its IPO.

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