Adam Neumann’s first interview since being forced from his position as CEO of WeWork showed a sense of regret, but downplayed how employees were impacted by his leadership.
“Yes, the valuation made us feel like we were right, which made me feel that whatever style I was leading at was a correct style at the time,” said Neumann in an interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times’ DealBook Online Summit. “Maybe it went to my head. I do think at some point it did.… When the whole world is telling you that, yes, we believed it and we thought it was really happening.”
Neumann revealed that Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, advised him to step down at WeWork just days before he was ousted.
In reference to the nearly $1 billion severance package he received while thousands of employees were laid off and left with worthless stock options, Neumann said that he felt disappointed for those workers. However, he added that WeWork’s falling valuation did not help him profit.
While Neumann admitted to having regrets and taking away “multiple lessons,” he pushed back on WeWork’s reputation of having a toxic culture that was heavily reported on throughout his years as CEO and verified by former employees.