Exclusive: Three WeWork board members depart, another to follow

Ron Fisher, Steven Langman and Mark Schwartz have left. Lew Frankfort plans to resign in coming months

TRD NATIONAL /
Feb.February 06, 2020 12:30 PM
From left: Lewis Frankfort of Flywheel Sports, Rhône’s Steve Langman, Ronald Fisher of Softbank, and Mark Schwartz of Softbank (Credit: Stanford University; Softbank; Getty Images; iStock)

From left: Lewis Frankfort of Flywheel Sports, Rhône’s Steve Langman, Ronald Fisher of Softbank, and Mark Schwartz of Softbank (Credit: Stanford University; Softbank; Getty Images; iStock)

Three WeWork board members who oversaw the company’s downfall last year have resigned in the past month, and a fourth is planning to leave.

The exodus of the company’s top advisers signals a change in guard at the troubled office space company, which has been transforming itself from a money-hemorrhaging startup to a traditional real estate operation following a brush with potential bankruptcy last year.

Longtime Softbank executive Ron Fisher, Rhone Capital CEO Steven Langman, and former Goldman Sachs executive Mark Schwartz, have all left in the past month, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Lew Frankfort, former CEO of handbag maker Coach, plans to resign from the board when a proposed tender offer from SoftBank closes in April, the person said.

Of 10 board seats, five are allocated for SoftBank appointments and five are designated for independent advisers, and once Frankfort departs, there will be four empty seats.

WeWork’s newly appointed CEO Sandeep Mathrani and SoftBank executive Kirthiga Reddy will take two of the spots SoftBank seats. This is in addition to board seats taken by chairman Marcelo Claure, a SoftBank executive, and Jeff Sine, a partner of the Raine Group, who both joined as board members in October.

Only two long-standing board members remain, investors Bruce Dunlevie, the CEO of Benchmark Capital, and John Zhao, CEO of Hony Capital.

Reddy, a partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, will replace Fisher, who is leaving the board this week, according to a person familiar with the situation. Fisher, a vice chairman at SoftBank, is in talks to leave the tech conglomerate after more than 20 years, according to the Financial Times. He oversaw its investments in WeWork

Reddy will also be the first woman to join the company’s board. WeWork announced last fall that Frances Frei, a Harvard Business School professor, was expected to join the board when its planned public offering was completed. But after it was withdrawn, Frei never joined.

This story will be updated.


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