Sandeep Mathrani Replaces Marcelo Claure as WeWork Chairman

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WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani has been named chairman of the coworking giant’s board, replacing Marcelo Claure months after he left the post, the company announced Tuesday.

Mathrani — a legendary real estate figure known for steering mall giant GGP out of one of the largest real estate bankruptcies in history — has been on WeWork’s board since he was appointed the company’s CEO in 2020 to help right the multibillion-dollar train wreck after former CEO Adam Neumann was pushed out. He will remain in his post as CEO.

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“Sandeep’s appointment as chairman is a testament to the high esteem in which he is held by WeWork’s board of directors, as well as his tremendous commitment to WeWork’s business, its members and employees,” Bruce Dunlevie, the lead independent director of WeWork’s board, said in a statement. “In just two years as CEO, Sandeep has not only rebuilt WeWork’s foundation but has oriented the company’s path towards sustainable profitability through disciplined growth and innovation.”

WeWork also announced that SoftBank Group’s Saurabh Jalan was appointed to the board, filling a seat left vacant by Claure.

The shakeup in WeWork’s board comes after Claure, who was appointed executive chairman in 2019, left his post as COO of SoftBank in January following a reported dispute over his compensation. 

Claure — who joined the Japanese bank in 2017 after a string running Sprint — became a close confidant of SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. SoftBank credited him with helping turn around WeWork, in which it invested billions, after it nearly ran out of money during the tenure of the freewheeling co-founder, Neumann, and a disastrous initial public offering attempt in 2019. 

After joining the board of WeWork, Claure started filling the coworking giant with a slew of real estate professionals, most notably Mathrani, and the company started to slow its massive cash burn and successfully go public through a special purpose acquisition company in October 2021

However, Claure’s work at WeWork reportedly helped cause his relationship with Son to turn. Claure wanted SoftBank to pay him about $2 billion in compensation over the next several years, partly on the back of his efforts at WeWork, but Son only wanted to shell out tens of millions of dollars, The New York Times reported. The salary discussions pushed Claure to leave in January, CNBC reported.

Nicholas Rizzi can be reached at nrizzi@commercialobserver.com.