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WeWork’s communications chief to leave after six turbulent months

Oct 15 2019 21:33
Ellen Huet, Bloomberg

WeWork is losing its chief communications officer, concluding a six-month tenure marked by a constant stream of bad news.

Jimmy Asci, who had joined the New York-based co-working company in April, resigned last Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorised to discuss the move publicly and asked not to be identified.

Asci is at least the third executive in that department to leave in as many months. Asci declined to provide a statement on his departure.

Since publishing a prospectus for an initial public offering in August, WeWork has faced criticism for an over-inflated valuation, lax corporate governance, steep and growing losses, and a divisive chief executive officer. Last month, the parent company, We Company, withdrew its initial public offering paperwork, and the board ousted the CEO, Adam Neumann.

With funds running low, WeWork is looking to sell assets and expects to cut potentially thousands of jobs from its staff of about 12,500 this month, as it focuses on its core business of renting out office space. Banks are pitching investors on a rescue package that would be one of the riskiest junk-debt offerings in years.

As the recent chaos at WeWork unfolded, different factions within the company hired communications consultants, who are often at odds with one another. Neumann, who’s now chairman, and his wife Rebekah use one firm, while the company has two others. Major investors, including SoftBank Group, each have their own.

The situation is not unlike what happened at Uber Technologies, when co-founder Travis Kalanick was pressured by investors to resign as CEO. During that episode, Kalanick worked with Asci before WeWork hired him to run PR.

Some rifts between the Neumann-era WeWork and its new co-CEOs have surfaced in recent weeks. Over the years, Neumann had hired family members and personal friends. In the days after Neumann’s departure, his replacements began scrutinizing those at the company with close ties to Neumann. Several of them left.

wework  |  united states  |  ipo
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