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WeWork Hires Real Estate Pro As New CEO

There’s been a lot of debate over the years whether WeWork is in fact a tech startup, or more of a real estate company.

If we had any doubts before, I’d say the appointment of its new CEO pretty much sums it up.

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In a Feb. 1 announcement, the beleaguered startup said it named real estate executive Sandeep Mathrani to serve as its new CEO and board member. Effective Feb. 18, Mathrani will report to executive chairman Marcelo Claure (who is also COO of SoftBank, one of WeWork’s biggest investors).

WeWork itself admits that as former CEO of Brookfield Properties’ retail group, Mathrani “brings to WeWork extensive leadership experience in real estate.” Plus the company goes on to say that “Mathrani’s deep real estate experience and skills are highly complementary with those of Claure.”

In the company’s press release, Claure noted that Mathrani’s appointment concludes “an exhaustive search to identify a collaborative partner who is dedicated to the future success of WeWork. Sandeep is that person. He is the partner of choice with the right skills and experience as we work to execute WeWork’s transformation. He is a proven leader with turnaround expertise in the real estate industry, and we are thrilled to welcome him to WeWork.”

Claure points out that over the past 100 days, in addition to recapitalizing the business, WeWork has put a 5-year transformation plan in place to position the company to achieve profitability on an adjusted EBITDA basis by 2021.

Prior to his position at Brookfield, Mathrani was CEO of GGP Inc., which ultimately was sold to Brookfield Property Partners. Prior to joining GGP in 2010, Mathrani was president of retail for Vornado Realty Trust, where he oversaw the firm’s U.S. retail real estate division as well as operations in India, which were mainly made up of office properties.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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