WeWork’s head of US real estate is out

Aaron Ellison joined the co-working company in the high-flying (but still money-losing) days of 2018

Aaron Ellison
Aaron Ellison

One of the last executives to remain from Adam Neumann’s reign of WeWork is exiting the struggling co-working company.

After more than a decade at JLL, Aaron Ellison joined WeWork in July 2018 as head of real estate for the U.S. and Canada. At the time, WeWork was one of the fastest growing real estate companies on earth, gobbling up millions of square feet across hundreds of locations in North America (the company lost $1.9 billion on $1.8 billion in revenue that year). Ellison led a 50-person leasing team, and his territory eventually expanded into Israel.

But according to Business Insider, he’s out.

Ellison’s departure is the latest in a string of leadership-level departures at the company in the months since WeWork’s failed IPO last fall, CEO Adam Neumann was dramatically ousted and real estate vet Sandeep Mathrani eventually took over.

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Since November, nearly 3,000 workers have been laid off, the company has explored whether it can break pricey leases, and the overall valuation has plummeted from $47 billion to $2.9 billion.

In that span, the real estate team alone has turned over. In the last year, other departures include Sarah Pontius, global head of real estate partnerships; Granit Gjonbalaj, chief development officer; and Wendy Silverstein, who co-led WeWork’s real estate investment fund. Four of WeWork’s board members have left the company since January and now the board’s special committee is battling it out in court with the company’s former biggest backer, SoftBank.

The Japanese investment giant pulled out of a $3 billion bailout deal earlier this year, prompting the committee to sue.
SoftBank has four of the eight board seats and the special committee recently told a judge it planned to appoint new members to the board.

In recent months, WeWork has attracted criticism for not closing its locations despite the coronavirus pandemic. It also elected not to pay 20 percent of its own leases in the U.S., executives said in May.
[Business Insider] — Dennis Lynch