Retail real estate veteran to take reins of WeWork

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Retail real estate veteran to take reins of WeWork

By Marianne Wilson - 02/03/2020
Sandeep Mathrani
Sandeep Mathrani

WeWork, the embattled co-working office space company, has ended its search for a new CEO by naming a seasoned retail real estate executive to the post.  

WeWork named Sandeep Mathrani as CEO and a member of the board, effective Feb. 18. Most recently, he served as CEO of Brookfield Properties’ retail group. Prior to that, he was CEO of General Growth Properties for eight years. (In August 2018, GGP was sold to Brookfield Property Partners.)

Prior to joining GGP in 2010, Mathrani was president of retail for Vornado Realty Trust, where he oversaw the firm’s U.S. retail real estate division and operations in India comprised principally of office properties. Before that, he spent nearly a decade as executive VP at Forest City Ratner.

Mathrani replaces Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham, who were named temporary co-CEOs of WeWork in September after the departure of Adam Neumann, the company’s controversial and free spending co-founder. Neumann stepped down as CEO under pressure from directors and investors after the company shelved its planned IPO. The prospectus filing revealed heavy losses, numerous conflicts of interest and what many considered to be unlimited power by Neumann. 

“During this time, we have led an exhaustive search to identify a collaborative partner who is dedicated to the future success of WeWork,” said Marcelo Claure, executive chairman, WeWork. “Sandeep is that person. He is the partner of choice with the right skills and experience as we work to execute WeWork’s transformation. He is a proven leader with turnaround expertise in the real estate industry, and we are thrilled to welcome him to WeWork.”

WeWork has lost 80% of its valuation since the beginning of 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal. With the help of its largest investor, Softbank, the company is working on implementing a five-year financial plan that includes a goal to reach profitability by 2021.

As of the close of its 2019 fourth quarter, WeWork had 740 locations across 140 cities and 37 countries, as well as 662,000+ memberships, including global enterprises.

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