Topline: As SoftBank continues its efforts to turn around WeWork, the embattled office-sharing startup has held talks with T-Mobile CEO John Legere about becoming the company’s new chief executive, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
- WeWork is searching for a new CEO to replace interim co-chiefs Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham, who took over following the departure of Adam Neumann. T-Mobile’s John Legere is one of several candidates being considered to start as soon as January, according to CNBC.
- Like Neumann, Legere has a reputation as an unconventional executive, who during his tenure at T-Mobile has trashed rivals on Twitter and has become known for always wearing the company’s signature bright pink T-shirt.
- He is also closely linked to SoftBank’s Marcelo Claure, the former Sprint CEO who is now chairman of WeWork, from their joint efforts orchestrating Sprint’s $26 billion merger with T-Mobile.
- The T-Mobile CEO has experience cleaning up messes: He spent a decade at fiber-optic network provider Global Crossing, leading it through bankruptcy to a successful sale in 2011.
- As chief executive at T-Mobile, he turned the company around to become the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., routinely taking customers from bigger rivals like AT&T and Verizon as well as overseeing its stock price rising to almost $80 a share from around $20 a share since he took the helm in 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- Legere would be “the perfect guy for the job,” Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a management expert, told CNBC in September, hours after Adam Neumann said he was stepping down as CEO. “John would know how to shape something out of this.”
Surprising fact: The common link between Legere and WeWork is SoftBank. Thanks to his work on the merger with Sprint—which is owned by SoftBank—Legere already has ties to the Japanese conglomerate, namely through current WeWork and Sprint chairman Marcelo Claure.
Tangent: Shares of T-Mobile were down 1.8% following the news, while Sprint stock fell 3.3%.
What to watch for: It remains unclear whether Legere would accept the position at WeWork, as he is set to receive a big payday once T-Mobile completes its proposed takeover of Sprint next year. Legere is expected to step down from leading T-Mobile once the deal with Sprint is finalized—but it has been delayed thanks to an antitrust suit filed by several different state attorneys general.