During the 2012 Global Retailing Conference at the University of Arizona, Sandeep Mathrani described why he decided to take on the struggling General Growth Properties, who had massive financial issues.
“I decided to take the role because, one, it had great assets,” said Mathrani. “And two, it had great people.”
Mathrani spent the past few years of his life working at GGP, the second largest mall-owner in the U.S. who had just suffered one of the largest real estate bankruptcies in U.S.
Now, Mathrani has taken on the role as CEO of coworking company WeWork and is trying to revive the struggling firm, who faces over $40 billion in liability from numerous leases. While he was able to sell dozens of GGP’s malls to generate capital, this method likely won’t work with WeWork.
Also unlike GGP, WeWork’s massive empire has never been put up against an economic downturn, so it is untelling how a recession could impact the industry and whether a troubled company like WeWork could sustain.
WeWork is attempting to shed its reputation as a fast-paced startup where the environment is laid back and anything goes. After Adam Neumann was ousted as CEO, the company started tapering down its party culture that included free-flowing beer and booze-fueled corporate retreats.
While Mathrani must put in a lot of effort to transform the legacy of Neumann’s tenure, it is clear that his presence alone allows WeWork to prop itself up as a real estate company who wants to be taken seriously.