Via Financial Times

WeWork has chosen property industry veteran Sandeep Mathrani to be its new chief executive, as its largest shareholder seeks to stabilise the lossmaking shared office space provider months after it came close to bankruptcy. 

Four people familiar with the plan said Mr Mathrani, who recently stepped down as global head of retail real estate for Brookfield Property Partners, will replace Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham, who became co-CEOs when co-founder Adam Neumann resigned under pressure in September. 

Mr Minson and Mr Gunningham, who will leave after an unspecified transition period, are in line for exit packages worth $8.3m apiece, the Financial Times reported in December. WeWork and SoftBank declined to comment.

Marcelo Claure, the SoftBank executive installed by the Japanese investment group when it agreed a $9.5bn rescue refinancing in October, will remain executive chairman when Mr Mathrani joins in mid-February. 

The appointment of a low-key real estate veteran, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, is notable for a company which has upended office property markets but long resisted being called a property group, preferring the label — and valuation — of a disruptive technology company. 

Mr Mathrani, a one-time Vornado executive, was credited with turning around General Growth Properties, the second-largest US shopping mall operator, before Brookfield bought GGP for $15bn in 2018. 

Mr Claure first approached him with a view to him taking a non-executive board seat at WeWork before deciding his industry expertise would be more valuable in the role of CEO, one person familiar with the discussions said. 

Mr Claure has spent the months since leaving the SoftBank-controlled Sprint reviewing each building in WeWork’s portfolio to devise a plan for making it profitable and cash flow positive by 2021. SoftBank’s tender offer, part of the rescue plan which is expected to leave Masayoshi Son’s group with 80 per cent of the company’s equity, has yet to close.

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