Industrious hires ex-WeWork exec as chief growth officer

Craig Robinson aimed to bridge traditional real estate and flex worlds

Industrious’ new Chief Growth Officer Craig Robinson (Industrious)
Industrious’ new Chief Growth Officer Craig Robinson (Industrious)

Industrious has hired former WeWork executive Craig Robinson as its chief growth officer, the flex-office provider told The Real Deal.

Robinson’s hiring comes about two months after the flex-office startup hired a new chief operating officer, whose responsibilities include preparing the company for its expected initial public offering.

Industrious’ new chief growth officer position was created in response to the post-pandemic trend of large corporations and growing startups alike seeking to use flex offices in combination with traditionally leased workplaces to accommodate their distributed workforce, said Industrious CEO Jamie Hodari.

“This is one of those moments where we as a business are trying to navigate how things are playing out, and our customers are also trying to navigate it,” Hodari said. “And there’s a recognition that nobody has all the answers. So you need a steady hand.”

To fill the executive position, Industrious looked for someone to balance flex offices with traditional real estate players — including brokerages, landlords, and corporate heads of real estate — Hodari said.

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Until August 2020, Robinson led Powered By We, WeWork’s business unit that provided real estate development, technology and management services to landlords and tenants. Robinson said he stepped down from his role as the firm was realigning itself to be a more narrowly focused coworking company. Prior to WeWork, he had served as CEO of global corporate services at Newmark, and before that, as U.S. region president at Colliers International.

Industrious has been growing its footprint across the U.S. as landlords started to recognize the need to offer more flexible options in their office portfolio to attract tenants. Unlike many of its peers, Industrious has been teaming up with landlords by signing management contracts — rather than traditional leases — to operate flex offices.

Commercial real estate giant CBRE in February acquired a 35 percent stake in Industrious for $200M with plans to pick up another 5 percent, making the firm Industrious’ largest shareholder.

In late August, Industrious tapped Liz Simon, chief operating officer at tech-focused continuing education school General Assembly, to fill the COO position vacated by Michael Robson, who moved to KKR Capstone about a year ago. In addition to Industrious’ legal department, cross-functional operations and “people function,” Simon is tasked with overseeing the startup’s preparation for its IPO, said to be planned for later this year or early next year.

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