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SoftBank plans to get former Sprint boss to help fix WeWork

New York

SOFTBANK Group Corp is tapping Marcelo Claure to help turn around WeWork, after ousting co-founder and chief executive officer Adam Neumann from the corner office earlier last week.

Masayoshi Son, the head of SoftBank, WeWork's largest investor, has asked the former chief executive officer of Sprint Corp to take a more hands-on role in helping to oversee a clean-up of the office-rental company from his position at SoftBank, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified. No decision has been made on his exact role, the people said. Mr Claure will help WeWork's new leadership identify revenue and cost-saving opportunities, one of the people said.

In Mr Claure, Mr Son would be tapping an executive with a track record of fixing companies and overseeing his firm's investments.

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The 48-year-old joined SoftBank in 2013, when the Japanese firm bought Brightstar, a phone distribution company that Mr Claure ran. Mr Son tapped him in 2014 to run Sprint, which he helped turn around prior to the company's pending sale to rival T-Mobile US Inc. He remains executive chairman of Sprint.

Mr Claure is currently chief operating officer of SoftBank Group, CEO of its international operations and a member of its board. He also oversees the firm's US$5 billion technology fund focused on Latin America, which it launched this year.

After clashing with Rajeev Misra, head of the Vision Fund, the firm's US$100 billion investment vehicle, Mr Claure changed his role at SoftBank, Bloomberg reported in February. Mr Claure, already chief operating officer of SoftBank Group, was tasked with leading a new Latin America investment fund and helping Vision Fund companies expand into that region. He retained his duties overseeing SoftBank Group assets such as asset manager Fortress Investment Group, Sprint Corp, ARM Holdings Plc and WeWork.

Mr Neumann stepped down as CEO of WeWork last week under pressure from SoftBank and other backers. He was named non-executive chairman while senior WeWork executives Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson were appointed co-CEOs.

The management shake-up came after WeWork's plan to raise US$3 billion in an initial public offering this month disintegrated over corporate governance concerns and boardroom drama. We Co, WeWork's parent company, has probably delayed its IPO until 2020, people familiar with the mater said. BLOOMBERG