WeWork Hires Former EY Exec Shyam Gidumal as COO

Gidumal is the first hire for the coworking company since Sandeep Mathrani took over as CEO

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Coworking giant WeWork hired former Ernst & Young executive Shyam Gidumal as its new chief operating officer, the first major hire since Sandeep Mathrani took over as CEO early this month, the company announced today.

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For nearly 10 years, Gidumal was a New York-based partner/principal at professional services firm EY where he headed up the retail and consumer products practices in the company, according to WeWork. 

Shyam Gidumal
Shyam Gidumal. Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The hiring of Gidumal — who starts immediately and will report directly to Mathrani — brings in another executive with extensive retail experience to the beleaguered coworking firm, which Mathrani has been tasked with flipping the switch on its money burning model.

“Shyam has been an invaluable partner to me for many years during critical business inflection points, helping to focus operations and organizations including at Vornado, and repositioning companies for effective growth,” Mathrani said in a statement. “Having him as a partner in managing our business that spans 37 countries will be a significant boon to our operations and executive team.”

Gidumal graduated with a bachelor’s for Columbia University and a master’s of business administration from Harvard and started his career at The Boston Consulting Group, where he eventually was made partner, according to his LinkedIn page.

He’s worked for private equity fund Crown Capital, served as the CEO of Strategic Turnarounds & Investment Corp. and was a private equity operating partner for the bankrupt retailer Toys “R” Us, according to his LinkedIn page.

“I’ve spent my entire career managing or advising companies, often through key transformational endeavors, to help position them for long-term success,” Gidumal said in a statement. “Whether it was helping to found Fresh Direct, launching Gemini Industries on its growth trajectory, or reinvigorating enterprises such as Acterna or Worldcom, my role has been to constructively manage businesses for long-term success and sustainability. I am thrilled to join WeWork in its exciting next chapter, working across all levels of the business on our path to profitable growth.”

WeWork faced a series of setbacks last year which included a failed attempt at an initial public offering, saw its valuation plummet by about $39 billion, lost its bombastic CEO Adam Neumann after reports of his erratic behavior, and laid off thousands of employees.

Investor SoftBank Group came through with a multibillion-dollar bailout and takeover of the company in October 2019, installing Marcelo Claure as WeWork’s executive chairman.

Earlier this month, WeWork announced it tapped Mathrani — the former CEO of mall owner GGP and CEO of Brookfield Properties’ retail group — as CEO to replace Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham.

Industry experts previously told Commercial Observer Mathrani’s hire was a step towards WeWork “growing up” and is the nearly 10-year-old company’s last lifeline to stay afloat.