Adam Neumann

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Adam Neumann
TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2015 (17172830107) cropped.jpg
Born (1979-04-25) April 25, 1979 (age 40)
Tel Aviv, Israel
ResidenceNew York City, US
CitizenshipIsrael, United States
Alma materIsraeli Naval Academy
Baruch College
OccupationBusinessman
Known forCo-founder, WeWork
Net worthUS$600 Million (October 2019)[1]
Height6 ft 5 in (196 cm)
Spouse(s)Rebekah Neumann
Children5
Military career
Allegiance Israel
Service/branchNaval Ensign of Israel.svg Israeli Navy
Years of service1996– 2001
RankIDF seren gold.svg Captain (O-3)[2]
Notes

Adam Neumann (Hebrew: אדם נוימן; born April 25, 1979) is an Israeli-American businessman. In 2010, he co-founded WeWork, alongside Miguel McKelvey and his spouse Rebekah Neumann.[4] He served as WeWork's CEO from 2010–2019.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Neumann was born in Israel, the son of Avivit and Doron Neumann. When he was seven, his parents divorced. He and his younger sister Adi moved to the United States with their mother for her medical residency. Severely dyslexic, Neumann could not read or write until third grade.[6] In 1990, after four years in the US, they returned to Israel and settled in Kibbutz Nir Am. He graduated successfully from the Israeli Naval Academy and subsequently served as an officer in the Israeli Navy for five years and was discharged with the rank of captain.[2] He later attended the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College in New York City.[7]

Career[edit]

Prior to founding WeWork, Neumann founded a children's clothing company, Krawlers.[7][8]

Neumann and McKelvey began working together after having previously met through a mutual friend. A shared interest in community upbringings and design led them to create Green Desk in 2008, a shared-workspace business focusing on sustainability, which served as the precursor to WeWork, which they founded in 2010.[8] The pair sold their interest in Green Desk[9] and using the funds along with a $15 million investment from Brooklyn real estate developer Joel Schreiber for a 33% interest in the company,[10] they founded WeWork in 2010.[8] Neumann stated that with WeWork, he intended to replicate the feeling of togetherness and belonging he felt in Israel and that he thought was lacking in the West.[11]

On September 22, 2019, there were reports, from outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, that various WeWork directors were planning on asking Neumann to step down as CEO, after "a tumultuous week in which his eccentric behavior and drug use came to light" prior to a planned IPO.[12] The Wall Street Journal had reported that he had taken $700 million out of WeWork before the IPO, among other details, and "undermined his position" at the company.[13] On September 24, 2019, he resigned and Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham were instated as co-successors.[14]

In October 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported that Neumann would receive close to $1.7 billion from stakeholder SoftBank for stepping down from WeWork's board and severing most of his ties to the company.[15] Weeks later, minority shareholders filed a lawsuit against Neumann and other WeWork officials for breach of its fiduciary duties.[16]

Investments[edit]

In 2012, he partnered with Ken Horn of Alchemy Properties and Joel Schreiber and purchased for $68 million the top floors of the Woolworth Building which they converted into condominiums.[10] Neumann became a partner of InterCure, an Israeli cannabis company led by Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister of Israel, in 2018.[17][18] Neumann has also invested in EquityBee, a start-up for tech investors,[19] and Selina, a hospitality company.[20]

Neumann has purchased buildings and then leased the space back to WeWork. Observers noted this as a potential conflict of interest and one that would not be allowed if WeWork were a public company.[21]

Controversy[edit]

In 2018, WeWork faced a lawsuit from a former employee who identified issues of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviors within the company workplace. In her statement, she mentioned that Neumann "plied [her] with tequila shots during her interview with the company."[22][23] Shortly after this claim was made, WeWork put an end to its unlimited beer and implemented a policy of only four beers per day in the New York office.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Adam Neumann talking at TechCrunch in 2015

Neumann lives in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City with his wife, Rebekah Neumann, founder and CEO of WeGrow,[25] and their five children, including two pairs of twins.[26][27] Rebekah is a cousin of Gwyneth Paltrow.[28] Neumann's sister, Adi Neumann, is a model and was Miss Teen Israel.[29][30]

In 2018, Neumann gave a keynote speech at an event held by UJA-Federation of New York where he spoke of observing Shabbat with his family every week[31][32] and the role Judaism has played in his personal and professional growth.[33]

According to The Wall Street Journal, Neumann chartered a Gulfstream G650 for a trip from the United States to Israel during the summer of 2018. During the flight, Neumann and his friends spent much of the flight smoking marijuana. After the flight landed in Israel, the flight crew found a cereal box stuffed with marijuana and reported it to the jet owner. Fearing a marijuana trafficking incident, the owner of the jet ordered it to return to the US. Neumann and his friends had to book a separate flight back.[3]

The Wall Street Journal reported that Neumann had aspirations such as living forever, becoming the world's first trillionaire, expanding WeWork to the planet Mars, becoming Israel's prime minister, and becoming "president of the world".[34] A September 2019 Vanity Fair article reported that Neumann made claims that he convinced Rahm Emanuel to run for the presidency of the United States, used JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon as his personal banker, and convinced Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman to improve the standing of women in Saudi Arabia.[35]

During the summer of 2019, Neumann was reportedly working with Jared Kushner on the Trump administration's peace plan for the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.[36]

Homes[edit]

During the time he was the CEO of WeWork, Neumann purchased $90 million worth of homes, including a 60-acre estate in Westchester County, New York, 6000-square-foot condominium near Gramercy Park, two homes in The Hamptons, and a $21 million mansion in Corte Madera, California.[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WeWork's Neumann Loses Billionaire Status. It's Unlikely He'll Be Getting It Back". Forbes. 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b Nicolaou, Anna (March 18, 2016). "WeWork cultivating 'physical social network'". Financial Times. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Brown, Eliot (2019-09-18). "'This Is Not the Way Everybody Behaves.' How Adam Neumann's Over-the-Top Style Built WeWork". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2019-09-19.
  4. ^ "Adam Neumann". Forbes. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  5. ^ Gelles, David; de la Merced, Michael J.; Eavis, Peter; Sorkin, Andrew Ross (Sep 24, 2019). "WeWork C.E.O. Adam Neumann Steps Down Under Pressure". Retrieved Sep 26, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  6. ^ Bertoni, Steven. "WeWork's $20 Billion Office Party: The Crazy Bet That Could Change How The World Does Business". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  7. ^ a b Loizos, Connie. "WeWork's Adam Neumann is graduating from college today — 15 years after he enrolled". TechCrunch. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Turk, Victoria (June 6, 2018). "How WeWork became the most hyped startup in the world". WIRED. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  9. ^ Wiedeman, Reeves (June 10, 2019). "he I in We How did WeWork's Adam Neumann turn office space with "community" into a $47 billion company? Not by sharing". New York.
  10. ^ a b Putzier, Konrad (December 1, 2017). "The story of WeWork's mysterious first investor". The Real Deal.
  11. ^ ""אני מתגעגע לישראל כל הזמן, אבל לא הייתי יכול לבנות חברה כמו WeWork בארץ"". ynet (in Hebrew). 2019-05-20. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  12. ^ Farrell, Maureen (September 22, 2019). "Some WeWork Board Members Seek to Remove Adam Neumann as CEO". www.wsj.com.
  13. ^ Rushe, Dominic (September 30, 2019). "Troubled WeWork scraps share sale after ousting founder Adam Neumann". www.theguardian.com.
  14. ^ Brooker (September 24, 2019). "The fall of WeWork's Adam Neumann". www.fastcompany.com.
  15. ^ Maureen Farrell, Eliot Brown (October 22, 2019). "SoftBank to Boost Stake in WeWork in Deal That Cuts Most Ties With Neumann". WSJ. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  16. ^ "WeWork, ex-CEO Neumann, Softbank sued over botched IPO, plummeting value". Reuters. November 8, 2019.
  17. ^ Scheer, Steven (December 6, 2018). "Israeli medical cannabis firm InterCure plans Nasdaq listing". Reuters. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  18. ^ Weinreb, Gali (November 28, 2018). "WeWork's Adam Neumann invests in cannabis co InterCure". Globes. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  19. ^ Gallindoss, Alan (November 28, 2018). "WeWork Founder, Adam Neumann Invests In Ehud Barak's Cannabis Company". Jewish Business News. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  20. ^ Putzier, Konrad (December 5, 2018). "Adam Neumann-backed hotel and co-working company Selina expands to NYC". The Real Deal.
  21. ^ Rajamani, Maya (January 17, 2019). "WeWork's Size Gives Startup Public Responsibilities, Sam Zell Says". Bloomberg. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  22. ^ O'Brien, Ashley (October 12, 2018). "Former WeWork employee sues for sexual harassment, retaliation". CNN Business. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  23. ^ Rajamani, Maya (October 12, 2018). "NYC Woman Assaulted by Two WeWork Employees Amid 'Frat-Boy Culture' That Pervades Coworking Company, Lawsuit Claims". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  24. ^ Small, Eddie (November 2, 2018). "Party foul? Unlimited beer is no longer a thing at WeWork". The Real Deal. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  25. ^ "About us". WeGrow.com. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  26. ^ "WeLive: Adam Neumann buys Greenwich Village townhouse". The Real Deal New York. 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  27. ^ Lidsky, David (6 November 2017). "WeWork Founder Hopes Her New School Will Help 5-Year-Olds Pursue Their Life's Purpose". Fast Company. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  28. ^ Observer: "How Gwyneth Paltrow’s Cousin Co-Founded WeWork - The pair behind WeWork discuss their fantasies of a WeWorld with PORTER" By Margaret Abrams August 3, 2016
  29. ^ Wiedeman, Reeves (2019-06-10). "How Did WeWork's Adam Neumann Build a $47 Billion Company?". Intelligencer. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  30. ^ Orpaz, Inbal (31 July 2017). "By Harnessing Israeliness, WeWork Joins the Ranks of Uber, Airbnb". Retrieved 6 January 2019 – via Haaretz.
  31. ^ "Wall Street Dinner & Closing Bell After-Party". UJA Federation. December 10, 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  32. ^ Wenkert, Amarelle (January 4, 2019). "WeWork's Adam Neumann Says Observing Jewish Shabbat Helps Him Keep Ego in Check". CTech. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  33. ^ "$31 Million Raised in Record-Breaking UJA Wall Street Dinner". The Jewish Voice. December 12, 2018.
  34. ^ Taylor Telford (September 23, 2019). "Adam Neumann's chaotic energy built WeWork. Now it might cost him his job as CEO". Washington Post.
  35. ^ Sherman, Gabriel (2019-09-23). "BECAME A REALITY": INSIDE THE CRASH OF WEWORK'S MAGIC MILLENNIAL REAL ESTATE KINGDOM". Vanity Fair (magazine). Retrieved 2019-09-24.
  36. ^ a b Sherman, Gabriel (2019-11-21). ""YOU DON'T BRING BAD NEWS TO THE CULT LEADER": INSIDE THE FALL OF WEWORK". Vanity Fair (magazine). Retrieved 2019-11-22.

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