Adam Neumann says it is “challenging” for him to watch WeWork go bankrupt.
The WeWork cofounder and former CEO, who resigned after overseeing the company’s botched IPO, said he was “disappointed” by the bankruptcy and accused WeWork of “failing to take advantage” of its potential.
The coworking giant, which at its peak was valued at $47 billion, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday after years of financial problems.
“As the co-founder of WeWork who spent a decade building the business with an amazing team of mission-driven people, the company’s anticipated bankruptcy filing is disappointing,” said Neumann in a statement on Monday.
“It has been challenging for me to watch from the sidelines since 2019 as WeWork has failed to take advantage of a product that is more relevant today than ever before.
I believe that, with the right strategy and team, a reorganization will enable WeWork to emerge successfully,” he added.
Neumann quit as WeWork’s CEO in 2019 after the company’s much-anticipated public launch fell apart. He reportedly received $480 million for his stake in the company when he stepped down, and in total collected around $770 million from WeWork’s eventual public offering in 2021.
The tech entrepreneur had faced significant scrutiny over WeWork’s business model and his perceived conflicts of interest, which would later become the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.
Investors raised the alarm after it came to light that WeWork was paying Neumann $5.9 million to license the “We” trademark after he purchased it through a holding company.
Company filings also suggested that Neumann had used WeWork’s money to fund a range of pet projects, including a $14 million investment in Wavegarden, a company that makes surfing wave pools.
Neumann also came under fire for his leadership style. Employees described the culture at WeWork under him as a chaotic “never-ending party,” with tequila shots in meetings and sex-filled company retreats.
Neumann has been unapologetic about his role in WeWork’s botched IPO, telling The New York Times in 2021 that while he had regrets about his time at the company he was not responsible for WeWork’s woes.
Neumann has provided few details about what Flow actually is – but that has not stopped it from attracting serious funding. The company was valued at $1 billion in 2022 after VC firm Andreessen Horowitz invested $350 million in it.
WeWork did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours.