WeWork Finds Its Leader
In what can essentially be labeled a bailout, Softbank has swooped in and taken control of nearly 85% of WeWork, with their all in investment now summing $18.5 Billion. For context, this investment is now larger than the GDP of the nation of Bolivia, the birth country of the new CEO. Softbank founder Masayoshi Son has since tapped Neumann’s successor, Marcelo Claure, one of his top lieutenants to take on the challenge or fixing the firms largest holding.
First, let me boastfully state that Claure is a graduate of my school, Bentley University, and certainly one of our best known alumni. Claure, a serial entrepreneur, first met Son when Softbank purchased 57% of his cellphone reselling business Brightstar in 2012. Two years later, Son tapped Claure to become the next CEO of Sprint, tasking him with repairing the floundering mobile provider. The revitalization took time, but in 2018 Sprint recorded its first full year profit in 11 years. He presided over the company until announcing a merger with T-Mobile, which would make the combined entity the third largest mobile provider in the US in a bid to compete with Verizon and AT&T. Claure has since stepped aside as CEO of Sprint Group and in the interim has been the COO of Softbank Group.
Claure in his first statement to employees in New York worked to ease the fears of employees who know that massive layoffs are coming. Claure stated he intends to turn WeWork into a “Guided Missile”, free of the ancillary businesses Neumann was trying to grow. He expects to unveil a plan in 30 days as to the future he sees for the once darling unicorn and how he can control the incredible spending that nearly ran WeWork into the ground. He knows that the odds are stacked against him, but this is exactly what Claure likes. Throughout his life he has beaten the odds to succeed, this just may be one of his biggest hurdles yet.