WeWork is facing an uncertain future without its charismatic leader Adam Neumann, who was once admired by many. Now, not so much.
Eight current and former WeWork executives have expressed bitterness towards a circle of top staff and the company’s board who enabled Neumann’s behavior. A former executive went as far as to say that the people surrounded by Neumann “created the monster.
“We were making workspace accessible to people and helping people create business,” said an anonymous former executive. “But there were a lot of distractions.”
One of the most concerning practices was when Neumann purchased buildings with loans from WeWork, then leased it back to the company.
The company’s turbulent path to an IPO came to a head when Neumann was asked to step down from his position as CEO. Now, the IPO has been postponed indefinitely. Without his energy, the company’s identity may be muddled.
Still, his demotion to non-executive chairman was necessary in order for the company to have a successful public offering. Although new co-CEOs Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham have promised to try to prep the company for its IPO, some executives said the two were among those who tolerated Neumann’s practices.
One person did defend Minson, saying the CFO had crossed Neumann multiple times and had been penalized for it.
Despite this, Minson and other executives have benefited from their relationships with Neumann.
Former executives have also placed partial blame on SoftBank for fueling Neumann with unnecessarily large sums of money, which he then spent frivolously.