- Frances Frei has joined WeWork‘s board of directors, the company said in an updated IPO filing Wednesday.
- Frei, a Harvard Business School professor, was previously a senior vice president at Uber, where she was charged with turning around a toxic corporate culture.
- WeWork was criticized following its original IPO filings in August for a lack of female directors.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Frances Frei, Uber’s former senior vice president of leadership and strategy, has joined WeWork’s board of directors, the company said in an updated regulatory filing on Wednesday.
Frei, who is currently a professor at Harvard Business School, was hired by Uber to oversee a cultural transformation in June 2017, less than a month before the resignation of founder and CEO Travis Kalanick. Her addition comes after WeWork was criticized for a lack of female directors in its original initial public offering filings in August.
“Frances brings to our board of directors extensive experience researching and advising on corporate strategy, operations and culture, which our board of directors believes gives her particular insight into strategic planning and leadership,” The We Company said in the updates S-1 filing.
At Uber, Frei faced a near insurmountable challenge in taming the ride-hailing startup’s unmanageable founder. She also worked with thousands of other employees to change a toxic culture that was put on display by former engineer Susan Fowler.
“I was super attracted to going to an organization that was metaphorically and perhaps quite literally on fire,” Frei said in a an April 2018 Ted Talk.”This was an organization that had lost trust with every constituent that mattered.”
After coaching up the Uber executive team, Frei turned her attention to thousands of managers who needed an intervention too, she told Recode’s Kara Swisher in 2018. She departed Uber in February 2018.
Frei has previously consulted WeWork’s human resources department, the company said, which has seen a massive upheaval in officials in the past year, The Information reported in August. While most departures were voluntary, the site reported, some departing employees reported disagreements or clashes with CEO Adam Neumann or Jen Berrent, WeWork’s co-president and chief legal officer.
WeWork is expected to kick off its IPO road show as soon as next week, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. The offering could be the second-largest of 2019, following Uber.
However, the real-estate management company has been taunted by academics and analysts for a complex corporate structure and financial statements that show massive losses.
Scott Galloway, the NYU professor and best-selling author went so far as to call the company WeWTF.
“In frothy markets, it’s easy to enter into a consensual hallucination, with investors and markets, that you’re creating value,” he wrote for Business Insider. “And it’s easy to wallpaper over the shortcomings of the business with a bull market’s halcyon: cheap capital. WeWork has brought new meaning to the word wallpaper.”
More on WeWork’s IPO:
- WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has set up a ‘hardship’ fund for employees of a startup which collapsed 7 months after he invested
- These are the unusual ways WeWork founder Adam Neumann has made millions, and stands to make more, from his $47 billion company about to go public
- WeWork replaced 43 million of CEO Adam Neumann’s stock options with special ‘profits interests,’ and a compensation expert calls it ‘unsettling’
- WeWork has reportedly been bleeding HR managers in the last year, and some are pointing fingers at CEO Adam Neumann