As WeWork’s IPO had been beset by questions about valuation and governance, the workplace rental company said Tuesday that co-founder Adam Neumann will step down as CEO but remain non-executive chairman.
Neumann’s company had been a poster child for the founder-friendly class of unicorn IPOs hitting the market. WeWork’s “high vote” shares conveyed 20 votes per share, as did those of Lyft Inc. (LYFT) and Pinterest Inc. (PINS). WeWork reduced the clout 10 votes per share in a later prospectus.
WeWork granted Neumann outsized influence, even after his tenure. The initial prospectus stated that his wife Rebekah, who is a co-founder and Chief Brand and Impact Officer but does not collect a salary, would be part of a three-person panel to choose his successor. The provision was later dropped.
The company’s private market valuation of $47 billion also attracted scrutiny, with speculation suggesting that the IPO would carry a significantly lower valuation.
As Neumann exits, WeWork Chief Financial Officer Artie Minson and Vice Chairman Sebastian Gunningham will be co-CEOs.
The duo said We Co company is still “evaluating the optimal timing for an IPO,” in a statement on Tuesday, but did not provide a time frame.
WeWork did not respond to a query about whether the company could go public this year.