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2,000 Staff Getting Laid Off As WeWork Faces Collapse

WeWork will lay off at least 2,000 staff in the coming week — 13 percent of its 15,000 payroll — with thousands of more job losses expected to follow, the Guardian reported on Tuesday (Oct. 15).

WeWork staff told the Guardian that they believe “the cuts will not stop there,” and that “little to no work is getting done” at the company. New projects have also been put on hold.

“The atmosphere is toxic. A lot of people worked so hard for this company. We thought we were in on something really big,” a worker told the Guardian anonymously.

WeWork’s Slack channel chats, obtained by the Guardian, shared memes about co-founder Adam Neumann, whom many blame for the company’s near-collapse.

Staff said they had concerns about the influence that Neumann’s wife, Rebekah Paltrow Neumann, had at the company. The cousin of Gwyneth Paltrow, Neumann’s “strategic thought partner” had influence over hiring and firing. Then there was Neumann’s reported marijuana use, his private jet, his strange family dynamics, celebrity friends, and a Japanese tycoon who gave him $10 billion.

The cuts follow the embattled startup’s failed initial public offering (IPO) and the stepping down of Neumann from CEO. New co-CEOs Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham stepped in to replace the unconventional leader.

The office rental company has endured a precipitous collapse following investor concerns over its management and business model.

The company had been valued as high as $47 billion, once making it America’s highest-valued private firm. Neumann cashed out $700 million of his own shares before the company’s valuation was cut to almost half.

Lead investor SoftBank has a financing package in place to command WeWork and put Neumann, the firm’s founder, further aside. SoftBank reportedly gave WeWork a financing offer that would give it control. The company reportedly wants to put money into WeWork and have a bigger role in operations.

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