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WeWork: But Does the Corporate Governance Work?
Cheng, Yo-Jud; Maiden, Stephen E.; Case S-0350 / Published April 30, 2021 / 14 pages.
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Product Overview

This public-sourced case describes the lapses in board oversight that led to the dramatic rise and fall of collaborative office space company WeWork and its charismatic leader, Adam Neumann. The case is set in September 2019 and follows board member Mark Schwartz into a critical board meeting to discuss many of the issues facing the company as it tries to raise billions through an IPO: lapses in governance oversight and fiscal discipline, CEO Neumann’s erratic behavior, and perhaps even fraud. The case offers an opportunity to evaluate WeWork’s strategy and path to future profitability; the board and other stakeholders’ role in WeWork’s hypergrowth and rapid fall from grace; differences in corporate governance in private versus public companies; and the governance changes that occur in preparation for an IPO. With WeWork on the brink, students are put in Schwartz’s shoes in the board meeting and challenged to answer the question: What would you do and why?


Learning Objectives

- To evaluate the advantages, disadvantages, and strategic choices that a company faces when considering whether to go public - To understand how corporate governance systems and practices evolve in preparation for an IPO - To discuss the role and expectations of venture capital investors versus public investors in corporate governance - To discuss how the decisions and incentives of stakeholders can give rise to lapses in strategic direction, fiscal discipline, and governance oversight

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  • Overview

    This public-sourced case describes the lapses in board oversight that led to the dramatic rise and fall of collaborative office space company WeWork and its charismatic leader, Adam Neumann. The case is set in September 2019 and follows board member Mark Schwartz into a critical board meeting to discuss many of the issues facing the company as it tries to raise billions through an IPO: lapses in governance oversight and fiscal discipline, CEO Neumann’s erratic behavior, and perhaps even fraud. The case offers an opportunity to evaluate WeWork’s strategy and path to future profitability; the board and other stakeholders’ role in WeWork’s hypergrowth and rapid fall from grace; differences in corporate governance in private versus public companies; and the governance changes that occur in preparation for an IPO. With WeWork on the brink, students are put in Schwartz’s shoes in the board meeting and challenged to answer the question: What would you do and why?

  • Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    - To evaluate the advantages, disadvantages, and strategic choices that a company faces when considering whether to go public - To understand how corporate governance systems and practices evolve in preparation for an IPO - To discuss the role and expectations of venture capital investors versus public investors in corporate governance - To discuss how the decisions and incentives of stakeholders can give rise to lapses in strategic direction, fiscal discipline, and governance oversight