WEWORK LOOKING FOR A LIFELINE
By Todd Horwitz
WeWork in Talks to Hire T-Mobile CEO
WeWork is in discussions with T-Mobile US Inc. Chief Executive John Legere to take over leadership of the troubled office-sharing startup, according to people familiar with the matter.
WeWork’s parent, formally known as We Co., is searching for a CEO who can stabilize the company following the erratic tenure of its co-founder Adam Neumann. After WeWork’s failed attempt at an initial public offering, SoftBank Group Corp. bought a majority stake in the company last month in a bailout, severing most ties with Mr. Neumann.
The startup is looking for a new leader who could join as soon as January, some of the people said. There is no guarantee that Mr. Legere, who stands to receive a windfall if T-Mobile completes its proposed takeover of Sprint Corp. next year, would accept the position or that another candidate won’t emerge. WeWork is also talking to other potential candidates, one of the people said.
Legere is known for his success in turning around T-Mobile in recent years. He has transformed the company from a struggling carrier with below average coverage to the fastest growing network in the country. The merger with Sprint would make it a formidable competitor to larger wireless players Verizon and AT&T, which owns CNN.
Legere, like Neumann, also has a nontraditional leadership style. He’s a Twitter fanatic, has sparred with President Donald Trump and other executives and is almost always seen rocking T-Mobile magenta. Legere and Neumann also share similar hairstyles. But Legere could bring the leadership chops to WeWork that Neumann lacked, according to Tim Hubbard, a professor of management at University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
“Hiring John Legere would serve as a signal to the market that the company wants to increase its legitimacy without losing its core, radical nature,” Hubbard said. WeWork is currently being run by former co-president and CFO Artie Minson and former vice chairman Sebastian Gunningham, who were named co-CEOs after Neumann stepped down In September.
Todd “Bubba” Horwitz