Directors at office-sharing company WeWork are considering kicking eccentric co-founder Adam Neumann out of the CEO's office, insiders say. Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that a group of directors—including some linked to Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, the company's biggest investor—want him ousted to salvage an IPO that would bring the rapidly growing firm some much-needed cash. The sources say the bloc of dissident directors are considering offering Neumann the title of nonexecutive chairman, which would allow him to remain part of the company. The startup's parent company, the We Company, was forced to postpone an IPO last week amid concerns about both the company's leadership and the massive amounts of money it is losing, the New York Times reports.
The rumors of Neumann's ouster follow a report in the Wall Street Journal last week that Neumann smoked pot on a private jet to Israel, prompting the jet's owner to bring it back to the US and leave the 40-year-old CEO to find his own way home. Neumann, known for establishing what the Journal calls a "millennial hipster vibe" with free-flowing tequila at the firm, has also made waves with moves like declaring meat would no longer be served at company events. Sources tell Bloomberg that a board meeting is set for Monday. WeWork, which leases office space and rents it out as shared workspaces, was valued at $47 billion when SoftBank made a huge investment in it in January, but it lost more than $1.3 billion in the first half of this year and insiders say there was little interest in the IPO even when the valuation was slashed to $15 billion. (Read more startup stories.)