The founder of WeWork who has in the past been described as having a ‘tequila-fueled leadership style’, also partied hard, even while traveling.
Employees have spoken out about the ‘cult-like’ environment at WeWork and the behavior of its so-called ‘partier in chief’, Adam Neumann, now 42, which included smoking copious amounts of marijuana on private jets while on company business.
On one journey there was said to be so much cannabis smoke in the cabin that the crew felt the need to put on their oxygen masks.
At its peak WeWork had co-working spaces in more than 110 cities in 29 countries with a valuation of $47billion. Neumann was put on a par with the likes of Steve Jobs as a Silicon Valley innovator who would change the world.
Adam Neumann, 42, the former chief executive of the office sharing company, was said to have enjoyed smoking cannabis together with senior execs onboard, a new book reveals. He is pictured with his wife, Rebekah, in 2009
Neumann’s tequila-fueled leadership style – where dance parties were more common than meetings – helped the company become one of the hottest tech startups. He’s pictured at a WeWork launch party in 2015
A new book reveals just how wild some of Neumann’s antics had become.
The details are contained in The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion which is released on Tuesday, a preview of which has been seen by the New York Post.
On one trip to Israel, Neumann’s private jet hadn’t arrived so he borrowed a G650ER plane from Gulfstream.
Upon landing in the Holy Land, the crew found a cereal box that was packed full of marijuana that had been stuffed into a closet.
‘Smoking on board was one thing, but transporting marijuana — an illegal drug in New York and Israel — across borders … might expose Gulfstream to serious risks,’ the book states.
Neumann has previously been described not just as the founder of WeWork, but its ‘partyer in chief’
The details are contained in a new book The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion
Gulfstream ended up bringing the plane home back to the States without Neumann and his cohorts who already had built up quite the reputation.
During another trip in 2015 to Mexico City, passengers were ‘spitting tequila on each other’. One passenger vomited ‘throughout the cabin and lavatory,’ and the ‘crew was not tipped.’
VistaJet, a private jet charter company was forced to take its aircraft out of service on several occasions to mop up vomit and alcohol spills.
The company say that on several occasions curtain dividers were also torn down by the CEO or his companions.
The new book reveals several stories that would lead many to question his managerial style.
Execs working for the company who requested in-person meetings might be asked to fly with Neumann to San Francisco at the drop of a hat.
On some flights, so much tequila would be consumed those on board would be vomiting all over the aircraft with lengthy cleanups required. A Gultstream jet is pictured
Other details recounted in the new book include bizarre meetings held in Neumann’s luxury car where execs would be forced to get out into a busy road once the session was over
Equally, he could be known to keep senior partners waiting for hours or perhaps having had them join him on board, not find any time to speak with them whatsoever.
Staffers report being abandoned upon landing and having to make their own way home.
When not in an aircraft, Neumann might hold a meeting with staff in his luxury $200,000 Maybach car before telling them to get out once the meeting was over and to ride in a ‘chase car’ which would be following behind.
‘One executive was shown the door in the middle of gridlocked traffic on the Long Island Expressway — instructed to find the chase car somewhere behind them in the traffic,’ the book recounts.
In October 2019, Neumann agreed to leave the company after its Japanese investors SoftBank bought $1billion of stock from him to get him out. Neumann is pictured with his wife Rebekah in 2018
Last year, another book, Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Fall of WeWork described how Neumann wasn’t just the founder of WeWork but its ‘partyer in chief’.
His tequila-fueled leadership style – where dance parties were more common than meetings – helped the company become one of the hottest tech startups on the planet.
Neumann’s office suites were absurd even by the standards of Silicon Valley bosses. In the early days he had a punching bag, a gong and a bar – later he had a private bathroom with a sauna and a cold-plunge tub at his office in New York.
WeWork hysteria reached its peak in 2017 when SoftBank invested $4.4billion in the company and Neumann declared its worth was based ‘more on our energy and spirituality’ than revenue.
He mused: ‘We are here in order to change the world – nothing less than that interests me’.
Neumann even talked about being the President of the United States, once joking he could be ‘President of the world’.
WeWork lost more than $2 billion in the first quarter of 2021 thanks to COVID-19 closures and the effects of a settlement deal with ousted CEO Adam Neumann, pictured
But WeWork’s planned flotation on the stock market stalled and investors soured on the company, causing its value to plummet to just $10billion.
In October 2019 Neumann agreed to leave the company after its Japanese investors SoftBank bought $1billion of stock from him to get him out.
SoftBank also initially agreed to pay him a $185m consulting fee to get him out, but they later refused to pay it amid outrage from staff and its own executives.
In May it was revealed how WeWork lost more than $2 billion in the first quarter of 2021 thanks to COVID-19 closures and the effects of a settlement deal Neumann.
Weathering the pandemic led to many office staffers working from home. The company lost around 200,000 customers in a year, down to 490,000 by March 2021.
Neumann has kept a low profile since he was forced to resign after WeWork’s planned flotation on the stock market stalled.
He and his wife Rebekah were thought to have fled the drama with a move to Israel but are now reportedly back in New York with their five children.
In August Neumann and Rebekah sold this six-acre estate in Westchester County for nearly $3.4million
Neumann set his seven-bedroom, 9.5-bathroom property in Corte Madera, located 15 miles north of San Francisco, on the market last July amid his legal turmoil with SoftBank
The house sold 10 months after it was first put on the market with a $27.5 million price tag
In August last year Neumann sold his five-bedroom mansion in New York for $3.4million. The six-acre country retreat in Westchester County includes a swimming pool, spa and slide as well as sports facilities, sprawling gardens and a dining terrace.
Separately, Neumann sold a $1.25million Hamptons getaway in February 2020 – making a loss on a property he had bought for $1.7million in 2012
Then in April 2021 Neumann, 41, and his wife Rebekah Paltrow Neumann sold their 11-acre California estate shaped like a guitar for $22.4 million, 10 months after it was first put on the market with a $27.5 million price tag.
In June, it Neumann purchased two waterfront properties near Miami Beach.
The eccentric businessman is said to be in contract to buy two adjacent properties on Bal Harbour Marina.
The properties, which total 50,000 square feet, offer multiple slips in the marina.
The eccentric businessman is in contract to buy two adjacent properties on Bal Harbour Marina. The properties, which total 50,000 square feet, offer multiple slips in the marina
Neumann will pay $44million for the properties to the seller, local investor Joseph Imbesi, according to The Wall Street Journal.
One of the parcels is being used to build a 14,000-square-foot home that is currently under construction.
In April the New York Post also reported that Neumann was planning his next business venture ‘involving what happened in the world because of the pandemic’.
Executives say WeWork as a business is ready to bounce back from the pandemic. Executive chairman Marcelo Claure said demand is now greater than pre COVID.
A total of $1.9 billion has been committed by customers via future sales, it is reported.
Sandeep Mathrani is now CEO, and his work has included cutting costs by $1.6 billion, according to WeWork.