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WeWork in Talks to Hire T-Mobile CEO John Legere



WeWork is in discussions with T-Mobile US Inc. CEO

John Legere

to take over leadership for the troubled start of office divisions, according to people familiar with the matter.

The parent of WeWork, formally known as We Co., is searching for a CEO who can stabilize the company after the unpredictable tenure of founders,

Adam Neumann.

After WeWork failed with an initial public offer,

SoftBank Group Corp.


9984 -1.01%

bought a majority stake in the company last month in a rescue situation, severing most ties with Mr. Neumann.

The startup is looking for a new leader who could join as soon as January, some of the people said. There is no guarantee that Mr. Doctors, who will receive a fall if T-Mobile completes its proposed acquisition of

Sprint Corp

next year will accept the position or another candidate will not show up.

Like Neumann, Mr. Legere is known as an unconventional executive. The 61

-year-old has spent the last six years running T-Mobile in a pugnacious style, trashing his rivals on Twitter as "Dumb and Dumber", using nasty language and dressing up in the company's signature magenta. He has turned T-Mobile's business, attracted millions of mobile phone customers from major players and initiated the pending acquisition of Sprint.

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Two WeWork Managers,

Artie Minson

and

Sebastian Gunningham,

has served as CEO since September when Neumann resigned under pressure as CEO. SoftBank executives are seeking to replace the duo with a high-profile candidate who they hope can turn the company around with an eye to potentially publishing it in the future, the people said.

When WeWork ran dangerous with little cash, said SoftBank stepped in with nearly $ 10 billion to give the company steady and installed one of its own top executives,

Marcelo Claure,

as chairman and de facto chief of the turnaround. SoftBank and Vision Fund now own about 80% of WeWork.

When WeWork promoted Mr. Minson, the company's former chief financial officer, and Mr. Gunningham, a deputy, they did not appoint interim CEOs. When asked last month at an employee town hall whether the two men would be left, Mr. Claure merely noted that the scheme was unusual. It is not known what roles, if any, the two men can have if WeWork hires a new CEO.

Mr. Claure, who is the chairman of Sprint, another SoftBank portfolio company, has analyzed WeWork's business and costs and promised to work four days a week at its New York headquarters. Mr. Claure has sought help from another Sprint manager: Sprint CEO

Michel Combes

has spent time in WeWork & # 39; s New York office in recent weeks, some of the people said. Claure has told people that Combes is unlikely to be CEO of WeWork.

We Co. & # 39; s stock exchange listing was postponed after the company announced it would withdraw the request to go public. Here's a look at the company's business model and why some investors saw the risk. Photo: David & # 39; Dee & # 39; Delgado / Bloomberg

WeWork's parent, with revenue of $ 1.8 billion last year and a recent valuation of around $ 8 billion, is far less than T-Mobile, which had sales of more than $ 43 billion last year and a market share of nearly $ 70 billion. [19659010] MR. Doctors is a veteran of the telecom business, a boom-and-bust industry where technological change can quickly shift companies' fortunes. A Fitchburg, Mass., Native, he previously worked at

AT&T Inc.

and was CEO of fiber optic network provider Global Crossing Ltd. before joining T-Mobile.

He has worked closely with Mr. Claure for the past year and a half to secure US approval for T-Mobil's proposed $ 26 billion dollar acquisition of Sprint. Both profiled Twitter users – unusual among executives at large corporations – posted selfies running on electric scooters and running at the National Mall when they made the case to regulators.

But the agreement has not been sealed. Although approved by federal officials, it has been delayed by an antitrust suit brought by several state attorneys general. The trial is set to begin next month. Doctors said last week that the parties are discussing how to extend the deadline of the agreement and do not rule out the possibility of renegotiating the price.

When it announced the Sprint deal, T-Mobile said that Mr. Legere would run the combined company. But executives at the time told investors that they expected the merger to end in the first half of 2019; they now say that the transaction will not be completed until next year.

T-Mobile's share price is up almost 240% since Mr. Legere became CEO in September 2012, compared to a 114% gain in the S&P 500 index over the same period. T-Mobile shares fell 2% Monday afternoon after the Wall Street Journal report of his potential departure, while Sprint shares fell 2.8%.

T-Mobile paid Mr. Legere $ 66.5 million last year, and he was eligible to receive up to $ 109 million if the company met certain performance targets. When T-Mobile signed the merger agreement with Sprint, it also extended Mr. Legere's employment contract until April 30, 2020.

Mr. Doctors have cleaned up the mess before. He spent a decade at Global Crossing, leading it through bankruptcy and into a possible sale in 2011.

During his time as CEO, T-Mobile grew from a struggling # 4 US wireless carrier to a strong no. 3 who routinely win customers from major rivals AT&T and

Verizon Communications Inc.

T-Mobile has spent years positioning Mr. Legere's deputy,

Mike Sievert,

to take on more responsibility. He was appointed chief operating officer and appointed to the board early in 2018.

T-Mobile's marketing events have increasingly referred to Mr. Sievts voice. When last week the company unveiled a series of consumer-friendly promises designed to win over skeptical government employees, mr. Legere and Sievert stage.

Write to Sarah Krouse at sarah.krouse@wsj.com and Maureen Farrell at maureen.farrell@wsj.com

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