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We Company adds a director, ditches its $5.9 million naming deal with its CEO, remains a governance nightmare

The company formerly known as WeWork, in an amendment to the S-1 that launched dozens of critical headlines, says it has added a new director to its board and unwound the $5.9 million payout to chief executive Adam Neumann over the name “We.”  The new board member is Frances Frei, a professor of technology and […]
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The company formerly known as WeWork, in an amendment to the S-1thatlauncheddozens ofcriticalheadlines, says it has added a new director to its board and unwound the $5.9 million payout to chief executive Adam Neumann over the name “We.”

The new board member is Frances Frei, a professor of technology and operations management at Harvard Business School and a consultant to the company since March 2019.

Frei’s previous claim to fame was rehabilitating the executive and managerial team at Uber Technologies in the wake of a series of fiascos that ultimately brought down the company’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick.

Uber hires Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei to solve its leadership problems

Frei becomes the first woman on the We Company’s board of directors — repairing an oversight which the company received criticism for when it first filed for its initial public offering. Shareholder advocacy groups have pressed for greater diversity on corporate boards as a means to improve company performance and offer a broader range of strategic guidance.

As part of the amended filing, The We Company also committed to add a director to the board that will increase the company’s gender and ethnic diversity.

In the same amendment, the company said that it was unwinding the $5.9 million transaction between itself and a holding company — WE Holdings LLC, which held the trademark for the “We” brand and was owned by We Company’s chief executive, Adam Neumann.

“[At] Adam’s direction, the issuance to WE Holdings LLC of the partnership interests was unwound and the partnership interests were returned to the We Company Partnership,” the company said in a statement.

To clarify: The chief executive officer of a company agreed to unwind an agreement with himself that paid him nearly $6 million so that the company he ran could use the trademark “We.” It also added a new “independent” director to its board who had been a paid consultant of the company for months before joining the board of directors.

All of this comes after the same chief executive cashed out of $700 million through company stock and loan agreements.

WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has reportedly cashed out of over $700 million ahead of its IPO

No wonder people are calling the company a “corporate governance nightmare.”

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