The descent into hell of Adam Neumann, the omnipotent CEO of WeWork

The boss of the US giant coworking was removed his operational duties, failing to successfully complete the IPO of the company.

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Adam Neumann, co-founder of WeWork, New York, May 2017. Eduardo Munoz / REUTERS

"Too much attention has focused on me. " It was with these words that Adam Neumann justified, on Tuesday, September 24, his decision to resign from his position as CEO of WeWork, the US giant of the renting of shared workspaces. Abandoning any operational function, he was replaced by a tandem composed of two directors of the company, Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham. The final stage of a free fall for this forty-year-old, who, this summer again, was to realize the largest IPO of the year (IPO). His company was, at the time, valued $ 47 billion (42.9 billion euros).

The tumble of the young boss was precipitated by the publication, in August, the financial information of the company upstream of its IPO. These highlighted the exceptional powers conferred on Mr. Neumann, as well as some practices close to the conflict of interest. Thus the leader rented to the company buildings he owned. In case of death"Adam", it was expected that his wife, presented as "Co-founder and strategic thinking partner", plays a decisive role in the appointment of his replacement. In the process, we learned that by renaming his company, at the beginning of the year, under the name of "We Company", the leader had been paid $ 5.9 million in exchange for the use of this brand. that he himself had deposited …

An indisputable charisma

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Throughout the portraits that have been devoted to him, Mr. Neumann appeared at best as an ambitious thirsty for money, at worst as a megalomaniac: so he was given the plans to become Prime Minister of Israel, to be the first in the world to reach a fortune of 1 trillion dollars or to prepare the arrival of WeWork on Mars … "We are here to change the world. Nothing else interests me », he said in 2017 to a journalistHaaretz.

Born in 1979 in Tel Aviv, Adam Neumann landed in New York in 2001, after five years in the Israeli army. He joins his sister, supermodel, and drowns first in the holidays. At the age of 22, he dropped out of business studies to launch a line of women's shoes. A failure, just like the brand of baby clothes he creates next. The luck turns after the meeting with the American architect Miguel McKelvey, with whom he founded GreenDesk in 2008, a first coworking company launched with the owner of a Brooklyn building. In the midst of the economic crisis, the success is immediate: many executives who have lost their jobs settle there to launch personal projects.


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