The embattled office-sharing startup, We Company, the parent company of WeWork said it has replaced its former CEO, Adam Neumann with Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham.
WeWork is an office-sharing startup that is backed by Japan’s SoftBank led by Masayoshi Son.
According to a report by Reuters, Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham will separately take care of the U.S. office-sharing space start-up’s finances and business, they developed turfs that became their mutual ticket to the top job.
As a result of the controversy surrounding its initial public offering, We Company’s board decided to split the CEO job when it announced on Tuesday that Neumann would relinquish his role and only stay on as non-executive chairman, following a plunge in the company’s estimated valuation and a fallout with investors, including Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.
Minson, previously chief financial officer, and Gunningham, previously vice-chairman, were named co-chief executive officers. Minson, a former chief financial officer of Time Warner Cable Enterprises LLC who joined We Company in 2015, will oversee its finance, legal, human resources, real estate and public communications. Gunningham, a former executive at Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc and Oracle Corp who joined We Company last year, will take responsibility for product, design, development, sales, marketing, technology and regional teams.
While these responsibilities are in line with Minson and Gunningham’s previous roles, Neumann’s absence will allow them to carry them out unimpeded. This is because the 40-year-old co-founder of We Company requested most decisions, no matter how small, to go through him, even though he often did not have the bandwidth to deal with them, according to five current and former We Company employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A We Company spokesman declined to comment to enquiries from Reuters. Neumann did not also respond to requests for comment.
Gunningham, 57, joined We Company last year with an aim to change much of this, after spending 11 years at Amazon as a member of its executive leadership team, reporting directly to CEO Jeff Bezos. By reporting directly to Neumann, Gunningham hoped to bring some order and balance to his new boss’s freewheeling, unstructured management style, the employees who have worked with Gunningham said.
While Gunningham was unable to fully rein in Neumann, he played an important role in organizing We Company’s operations, to the extent some employees said they referred to him as “shadow CEO” and “the adult in the room”. One of them quipped that Gunningham was the most important We Company executive not to be mentioned in its initial public offering (IPO) prospectus, when it was first published last month. An updated version of the prospectus included him.