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WeWork Fires 13 Employees for Violating Corporate Policies

Gillian Tan

(Bloomberg) -- WeWork said it fired 13 employees accused of violating company policies, the first major action since SoftBank Group Corp. took a majority stake in the troubled co-working business.

The dismissals affected workers in business regions encompassing Canada, Israel, Latin America and the U.S., according to an email to staff from Marcelo Claure, the WeWork chairman and a SoftBank executive, sent late Thursday and reviewed by Bloomberg. He said the violations related to “vendor selection and management processes.”

“WeWork will not tolerate behavior that disrespects our people, members or business,” Claure wrote. “We are a culture that believes in making the impossible possible. I want that culture to continue, but always with integrity and respect—respect for the law, our policies and, most importantly, each other.”

Separate from the HR investigations, WeWork is expected to soon dismiss thousands of employees in a bid to cut costs. In the email to staff, Claure said the layoffs will be completed in the next several weeks. A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment.

Claure told employees that he’s working on a five-year strategic plan for WeWork that further addresses governance issues, which have been a central criticism of the company and helped derail its initial public offering. Part of SoftBank’s takeover involved parting ways with Adam Neumann, the co-founder who leased space to the company as it lent him money.

Organizational and compensation changes are coming, Claure said, without offering details. The new plan will be designed to help WeWork grow sustainably without needing to raise more capital, he said.

To minimize personnel issues in the future, Claure asked staff to share concerns through an internal helpline. He assured employees they won’t be “retaliated against for coming forward in good faith.”

(Updates with WeWork declining to comment in the fourth paragraph.)

--With assistance from Ellen Huet.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gillian Tan in New York at gtan129@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Goldstein at agoldstein5@bloomberg.net, Mark Milian, Alistair Barr

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