WeWork CEO’s top lieutenants step up as successors

NEW YORK: As WeWork parent We Company’s CEO Adam Neumann asked Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham to separately take care of the US office-sharing space start-up’s finances and business, they developed turfs that became their mutual ticket to the top job.
We Company’s board decided to split the CEO job when it announced that Neumann would relinquish his role and only stay on as non-executive chairman, following a plunge in the company’s estimated valuation and a fallout with investors, including Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.
Minson, previously chief financial officer, and Gunningham, previously vice-chairman, were named co-chief executive officers. Minson, a former chief financial officer of Time Warner Cable Enterprises LLC who joined We Company in 2015, will oversee its finance, legal, human resources, real estate and public communications. Gunningham, a former executive at Amazon.com Inc , Apple Inc and Oracle Corp who joined We Company last year, will take responsibility for product, design, development, sales, marketing, technology and regional teams.
While these responsibilities are in line with Minson and Gunningham’s previous roles, Neumann’s absence will allow them to carry them out unimpeded.
This is because the 40-year-old co-founder of We Company requested most decisions, no matter how small, to go through him, even though he often did not have the bandwidth to deal with them, according to five current and former We Company employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
When Neumann made decisions, they often came at breakneck speed. One former employee said that staff reorganisations were so frequent, he checked the company’s internal organisational chart every day, fretting over any potential changes to his role.
A We Company spokesman declined to comment. Neumann did not respond to requests for comment.
Gunningham, 57, joined We Company last year with an aim to change much of this, after spending 11 years at Amazon as a member of its executive leadership team, reporting directly to CEO Jeff Bezos.
By reporting directly to Neumann, Gunningham hoped to bring some order and balance to his new boss’s freewheeling, unstructured management style, the employees who have worked with Gunningham said.
While Gunningham was unable to fully rein in Neumann, he played an important role in organising We Company’s operations, to the extent some employees said they referred to him as “shadow CEO” and “the adult in the room”. — Reuters