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; "