Ousted WeWork CEO is a & # 39; fake & # 39; with a Jesus complex, insiders say

On Tuesday, billionaire Adam Neumann resigned from his role as CEO of office rental startup WeWork, in the wake of reports of his overseas behavior and the company pushing back its once highly-awaited IPO.

And while the abrupt, reportedly forced departure may look like a disaster for WeWork, insiders say it's actually a relief for employees – and perhaps for the CEO himself.

"It's a great way for him to phase out," said a senior staffer who recently left. Now he doesn't have to deliver all the crazy things he promised. ”

Among Neumann's wildest dreams reported was to create WeWork Mars – an office space on the Red Planet. And at a corporate event in 201[ads1]8, he said, "There are 150 million orphans in the world. We want to solve this problem and give them a new family: the WeWork family. "

According to a New York magazine story from June, Neumann recently told a person close to the company," When countries shoot at each other, I want them to come to me. "

" He is clearly very smart and ambitious, "said a real estate executive who has had talks with WeWork." But he starts talking about some of the more German aspects of the city's land use process, such as [is] our specialty, and he has no idea what he's talking about. Your oxen – the meter just goes off with him. He's the overall person who doesn't know what they don't know. "

But a former WeWork manager who left the company last month places in "At least part of the blame for Softbank, the Tokyo-based conglomerate that has donated money to lively US startups including Uber and Slack. Softbank has funded We Co, WeWork's parent company, worth more than $ 10 billion.

" I'm mad at Softbank. You give a guy that amount of money to make him crazier and harder and faster – and then turn around and fire him for getting too crazy, too hard, too fast. It is howling with hypocrisy, " said the former ex.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported how Neumann and some friends in 2018 left behind a tile of marijuana stuffed in a grain bin on a borrowed private plane. The jet's owner, furious, remembered the plane and left the CEO, which is worth a reported $ 4.1 billion to find an alternative ride home.

But the former CEO emphasizes that Neumann is a well-meaning Icarus allowed to get too close to the sun with his over-the-top behavior – when all he really needed was someone who could drag him down to earth.

"You never got the feeling that he was a bad guy," the exec told Neumann, 40. “The board could have grown a couple and called Adam out for his behavior. This conclusion was completely avoidable 18 months ago. "

According to others, the C suite was too scared to make sense to their wild leader.

"Once upon a time, we asked one of the top executives, & # 39; Since you can you bring him back to reality? ", recalled another insider, who left the company earlier this year.

" And she said, "When Adam comes in and wants to do this or that, even though it's a very bad idea, we will figure out how to do it & # 39; "

  A WeWork office is located in the Financial District.
A WeWork office is located in the Financial District. Getty Images [19659018] According to several former WeWork employees, that Neumann complied with his own code of conduct.

An employee, who was in WeWork & # 39; s real estate division for three years, established the support group for employees that we of Color follow, he claims, experiencing racism at the company's London Summer Camp retreat . [19659002] The source We of Color said he was called the N-word and that mud was kicked and liquor thrown at him and other black team members by other employees of WeWork.

"[After we established We of Color] We asked for a meeting with Adam, "said the We of Color source to his group." He never took the meeting. He went on to say that h he would take the meeting and set it up and his assistant would cancel it and cancel it. She said, & # 39; Honestly, Adam will not talk about this, and you will not be supported. & # 39; "

A representative of Neumann and his wife had no comment on this story, while a spokeswoman for WeWork said the company could not comment on the conditions during the" quiet period "before IPO.

A former community chief of the company, who was one of the first 20 hires, Neumann said was very inappropriate when he screened her for the job.

"He asked me in my interview:" Are you pregnant or planning to be pregnant at any time? with someone? & # 39; Where do you live? & # 39 ;, she remembered. "I was, & # 39; My God, he is crazy. & # 39;"

His erratic behavior led to some employees When he announced in June 2018 that WeWork banned meat at employee events and would no longer reimburse employees for beef, poultry or pork dinners, beleaguered workers found a way to strike back. expensive lobster meals the most beautiful vegetables they could find.

"People were going to Michelin star vegetarian restaurants," said a former engineer.

He added that the way the non-meat announcement was handled was a mess. [19659002] "They said they banned meat, but then did not explain whether people could bring meat [to the office for lunch]. Then it was clarified that you can eat meat. Then it was: & # 39; You can't eat meat during the workday at all & # 39 ;, the former engineer said. "There was talk then that we couldn't eat meat in the workspace. Then it was clarified that you could bring and eat meat at work, but WeWork will no longer fund it."

According to the Wall Street Journal article, Employees witnessed Neumann eating meat after the announcement.

The confusion surrounding the ban, said the former engineer, "was a turning point in the company. Most felt that management was talking [to them] rather than working with [them]." [19659002] Neumann didn't always live the life of a tycoon, he was raised on an Israeli kibbutz by his mother, a doctor, and attended the Israeli Naval Academy and then Baruch College in NYC.

After a series of startup flops, including one for one shoe with a foldable heel and another for baby clothes with built-in cushions, Neumann WeWork co-founded with friend Miguel McKelvey.

  Miguel McKelvey, co-founder and chief creative officer of WeWork. there and creative director of WeWork. [19659017] Getty Images </span></figcaption></figure>
<p>  The partners started in 2008 and convinced a Dumbo landlord to let them take a vacant commercial site, divide it into municipal offices and rent them out. They struck out on their own two years later, opening the first WeWork on Grand and Lafayette streets and securing venture capital funding to expand. </p>
<p>  The first days were lean and bad. "If someone left at 18, the CFO would say, '# Half a day?' Everyone worked very hard 24/7," the former chief of staff said. </p>
<p>  Then Neumann lived in a small one-room East Village apartment with his wife. He seems to speak up in his quest to grow – and get rich – fast. </p>
<p>  We Holdings LLC, of ​​which he is the managing member, finagled to brand the word "we" to much shouting. Neumann then turned around, and in January of this year we sold the “we” right to his real estate company, and reported to have $ 5.9 million for it. He later returned the money after a public flogging. </p>
<p>  He also caught flak for buying property which he then leased back to WeWork, and became uncaring both landlord and tenant. </p>
<p>  "The self-handling s-t is cray-cray," said the property director. </p>
<p> "From the outside, a lot of the path for the public and employees is about this & # 39; we & # 39; thing, but the closer you get to the core of the company, the less it exists. It's about 'me' and 'I "," Said the former top executive, adding that he spoke directly to Neumann about concerns about his self-serving image. "That was the biggest downturn, personally." </p>
<p>  Neumann paid more than $ 700 million from the company – not a good glance before a stock exchange – and has bought home with leave. </p>
<p>  Among his homes are $ 10.5 million Greenwich Village townhouse and $ 35 million property in Gramercy Park. It's a place in Water Mill, in the Hamptons, as well as a 60-acre Westchester farm, complete with a waterfall, horseback riding and tennis court, which comes with a $ 22 million price tag, and he and the family also own a $ 21 million home in the San Francisco area which reportedly includes a guitar-shaped room. </p>
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& It became difficult to sit tea through the meetings because he's like, & # 39; It's about "we" and it's not "me," & # 39; [but] he pays shares … & # 39;

"It became difficult to sit through the meetings because he's like," It's about about "we" and it's not "me", [but] he pays shares … and he doesn't live the way he asks people to live, "said the inmate who left WeWork earlier this year.

The engineer said that Neumann would regularly have his personal trainer come to his corner glass office for boxing sessions.

And, the machinist added that both Neumann and his wife, Rebekah – who was the chief mark and battle officer and is Gwyneth Paltrow's first cousin – could come off as a tone deaf.

He remembered Rebecca's announcement that the company started its own school, WeGrow, after being disappointed with educational options for her and Neumann's five children.

"Rebecca came on the scene and began talking about how public schools in so many words destroyed children," said the engineer. She said WeGrow would cost $ 35,000- $ 40,000 per student. You announce this in a room where most of the staff would not be able to afford such a school. . . It caused a major accident in the company. ”

Rebekah also resigned on Tuesday. WeWork is currently run by two of Neumann's former deputies, Artie Minson and Scott Gunningham.

The former community manager feels that Neumann has the strength to be a team leader – but not the chops to back it up. [19659002] "He is definitely an intense person who thinks he is a Jesus figure, but he is also very good at what he does," she said. "He inspires people well."

Adds the inside: "The first time I went to one of all the company's speeches, I was like, 'My God, this guy really believes.' He was almost like a TV spy. really believed in it, but he is a complete falsehood. "

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