NEW YORK: The We Company’s CEO Adam Neumann and co-founder Rebekah Paltrow Neumann have turned to Edelman for communications support.
A Daniel J. Edelman Holdings representative confirmed subsidiary Edelman was hired in the last week, as Adam Neumann faces the prospect of being removed and replaced by the company’s board of directors, an effort being pushed by investors SoftBank and Benchmark Capital.
The attempted coup follows a postponed IPO process, botched by numerous issues, such as rising concerns around The We Company’s business model, governance structure and eye-popping valuation.
Laurie Hays, MD of special situations at Edelman, is leading work on the account, a source familiar with the matter told PRWeek. She joined Edelman in 2017 as EVP of financial comms and capital markets from Brunswick Group, where she was a longtime partner.
The We Company hired Gladstone Place Partners prior to the IPO process as its lead corporate comms agency. Gladstone has spearheaded the IPO work. The company also works with longtime agency, Risa Heller Communications, a source familiar with the matter told PRWeek.
Neither Steve Lipin, CEO of Gladstone, nor a Risa Heller representative were immediately available for comment.
To avoid a showdown, Neumann could transition to a chairman role or remain as CEO if the board brings on an independent chairman, according to Reuters. In this scenario, the already postponed IPO wouldn’t likely happen this year, forcing the company to replace $6 billion in debt it took from banks on the promise it’d go public.
The We Company’s chief comms officer, Jennifer Skyler, is exiting the company and joining American Express as chief corporate affairs officer. In late July, Dominic McMullan, VP and head of corporate communications, also left the company.