Embattled workspace company WeWork is in talks to hire T-Mobile’s “rock star” CEO, John Legere, to lead the company, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Journal says WeWork would like to install a new CEO as soon as January, citing several unnamed sources with knowledge.
The executive search follows the billion-dollar buyout of former WeWork founder and CEO Adam Neumann after he led the company to an unsuccessful IPO. Neumann’s eccentric leadership style made him the target of considerable bad press.
Neumann and Legere both sport long hair and unconventional leadership styles. Unlike Neumann, Legere is a highly effective business leader, having reshaped the culture and profitability of T-Mobile over the past decade. He would be charged with rehabilitating WeWork’s ability to earn a profit.
A source familiar with the matter tells Fast Company Legere is just one of several potential candidates, and isn’t necessarily the leading candidate.
WeWork was valued at $47 billion as recently as January. At the time of Neumann’s ouster, it was valued at just $7 billion, and its majority owner, SoftBank, has since written it down to below $5 billion. SoftBank announced a rescue deal for WeWork in October that gave SoftBank 80% ownership in the company.
Legere has been leading the proposed merger of T-Mobile with Sprint to create a viable wireless competitor to AT&T and Verizon. As I wrote earlier this month, the merger’s real benefit to wireless consumers depends a lot on whether Legere is CEO of the combined company and retains his renegade style.
The WSJ reports that Legere himself stands to gain a windfall if the T-Mobile/Sprint merger goes through. It has received formal blessings from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, but a group of state attorneys general are trying to block the deal. SoftBank owns a majority share in Sprint.
WeWork declined to comment.