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WeWork to Make Further Staff Cuts by End of May

More staff cuts, redesigned offices among measures WeWork plans to implement in coming months.

(Bloomberg)—Despite eliminating thousands of positions in the last six months, WeWork plans to keep cutting.

The company will make further headcount reductions by the end of next month, Sandeep Mathrani, the chief executive officer, said at a staff meeting Tuesday. He didn’t specify the size of the cuts but said he hoped this would be the last round, according to audio from the meeting reviewed by Bloomberg.

Mathrani spoke alongside Marcelo Claure, WeWork’s executive chairman and an executive at the company’s largest investor, SoftBank Group Corp. Mathrani said leadership is looking at every part of the company and that some teams may be hit harder than others.

“I know there is much speculation about how deep the cuts will be,” he said. “People are looking for a percentage or a number. The reality is, we're looking at all of it.”

A spokeswoman for WeWork parent company We Co. declined to comment.

WeWork cut about 2,400 employees after an attempt to go public failed in spectacular fashion last year. The company, like many others, has been hit hard by effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Customers, facing economic hardships, may not renew their contracts or may skip rent payments.

On Tuesday, Mathrani said that in order for WeWork to succeed going forward, “restructuring is inevitable.” As for the job cuts: “I want to do it once and know we have a company we can all move forward with,” he said.

Other executives on the call discussed how WeWork will adapt going forward. The company is considering new designs for some of its spaces in a post-pandemic era, when employees might be back at the office but wanting to stay apart. Those include more space between desks, occupancy limits in common areas and one-way paths throughout the office to avoid bottlenecks.

Executives warned that the company, which was already in financial turmoil, needs to get expenses in line. “Let me be very clear: With or without Covid, we need to run a more disciplined business,” said Kimberly Ross, WeWork’s new chief financial officer.

“Do not wait to be asked to cut expenses. Be proactive. If you see waste, eliminate it. If you see unnecessary spending, stop it,” Ross said. “Every dollar we spend needs to have a measurable impact on sales, member experience, profits or cash. If it doesn’t, then really why should we spend the money?”

--With assistance from Gillian Tan.

To contact the author of this story: Ellen Huet in San Francisco at [email protected].

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Milian at [email protected]

Alistair Barr

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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