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WeWork’s former CEO Adam Neumann, whose erratic behavior and questionable leadership decisions led to him being pushed out of the company he founded, is a tough act to follow. Now, SoftBank, the investment firm that’s essentially taken control of the troubled coworking startup, is considering a replacement with some similarly unconventional characteristics: T-Mobile CEO John Legere, according to new reporting from the Wall Street Journal.
Legere, who is expecting a huge payout when T-Mobile finalizes its acquisition of Sprint next year, has his own track record of controversial behavior — but nothing reaching the level of Neumann. The CEO is known for his quirky Twitter personality and dress, for mocking critics and freely using profanity, and for publicly savaging competitors (including WeWork’s current executive chairman Marcelo Claure, who in turn called him a “con artist”). But unlike Neumann, Legere has been credited with turning around the financial success of his once-struggling company to make it the fastest-growing mobile carrier in the US. A spokesperson for WeWork declined to comment. T-Mobile did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
WeWork is hoping to replace its interim CEOs Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham as early as January; they’ve been running the company since September, according to WSJ. Currently, former Sprint CEO and SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure is steering the company through these changes as WeWork’s executive chairman. In a recent company all-hands, Claure said he would “dedicate a vast amount” of his time to WeWork until he thinks the “company’s going in the right direction.”
If Legere is being considered as WeWork’s CEO, that means Claure is essentially picking his former competition to help take the WeWork problem off his hands.
But in the past, Claure has had choice words for Legere, and vice versa. Here they are feuding on Twitter back in 2015 and 2016.
Whoever takes over WeWork will have their work cut out for them. WeWork, which was resuscitated last month by a cash infusion from SoftBank, is still burning money thanks to the numerous new leases for which it owes rent. And SoftBank’s recent earnings report, which showed an operating loss for the Vision Fund that financed WeWork, isn’t putting those concerns to rest.
All this certainly isn’t helping WeWork’s rank and file, who are organizing to get a fair deal as they anticipate layoffs of up to 4,000 people in the coming days.