Adam Neumann gives his first statement on WeWork’s culture and leadership changes since stepping down as CEO and admits ‘growing pains’
Category : entrepreneur
Six weeks ago, co-working giant WeWork was the nation’s most valuable tech start-up, marching towards one of the mostly highly-anticipated IPOs of the year. But the IPO flew off the rails amid widespread investor skepticism over everything from the company’s business model to the lack of restraint over Adam Neumann’s corporate control.
Neumann was forced to step down as CEO in an attempt to rehab WeWork’s hard-partying, cash-burning image, although he remains on the board as non-executive chairman. Some observers are unsure if it will be enough to save the company from eventual bankruptcy.
The two new co-CEOs, Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson, have already swung into action trimming expensive perks, unrolling superfluous acquisitions and dismissing or collecting resignations from a growing cohort of Neumann’s closest allies at the company.
During the weeks of turmoil, the company stayed silent, unable to publicly comment due its quiet period, the SEC-mandated embargo on all promotional publicity in the weeks proceeding an IPO.
But now, the IPO has seemingly been sidelined for an undetermined period of time. (WeWork did not immediately respond to a request for comment on IPO timeline.)
In response to Business Insider’s investigation into the corporate culture under Neumann, both the company and Neumann have issued their first public statements about the leadership changes.
Business Insider’s investigation uncovered a long list of issues including mandatory alcohol-fueled company retreats, apparent nepotism, and discrimination employees say they witnessed or endured.
The WeWork team that remains is trying to distance itself from the recently-finished Neumann era and provided the following statement, its first since the quiet period began and Neumann stepped aside:
“WeWork Co-CEOs Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham are driving sweeping changes. We have zero tolerance for the behavior detailed here or discrimination of any kind. While our thousands of current employees are not represented by the anecdotes in this story, even one incident is too many. We are aggressively committed to moving the company forward and building a company and culture that our employees can be proud of.”
Neumann also gave a statement through a representative. While he admitted there may have been growing pains, he says he is ready to support the two men who have replaced him.
“WeWork is one of the fastest growing companies ever and while there may have been some growing pains, the results speak for themselves: a nurturing work environment that is inspiring, respectful, and attuned to bringing out the best in people.
“Adam fully supports the co-CEOs’ continued commitment to building a culture that all employees can be proud of.”
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