Nasdaq’s CEO was reportedly so eager to win WeWork’s IPO that she proposed creating an entire stock market index named after it

  • Nasdaq's CEO was so eager to win WeWork's IPO that she proposed creating a new environmental sustainability index named after it, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Adena Friedman offered to launch the "We 50" during a meeting with WeWork cofounder and then-CEO Adam Neumann in the Hamptons, the Journal reported.
  • Neumann asked Friedman and NYSE boss Stacey Cunningham to get rid of meat or disposable plastics from their cafeterias, the newspaper said.
  • Read more of Business Insider's WeWork coverage here.

Nasdaq's CEO was so eager to win WeWork's IPO that she proposed creating a new environmental sustainability index named after the shared-workspace startup, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Months before WeWork's plans to go public collapsed, Adam Neumann invited the heads of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq to the Hamptons, the Journal reported. WeWork's cofounder and then-CEO requested they ban meat or disposable plastics from their cafeterias for environmental reasons, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter.

NYSE President Stacey Cunningham agreed to get rid of plastic cups and cutlery but refused to eliminate meat, the Journal reported. Nasdaq boss Adena Friedman offered to launch a new index of companies devoted to environmental sustainability, the newspaper said. WeWork ultimately chose the Nasdaq for its listing.

Neumann's personal interests affected other parts of WeWork's IPO process. When colleagues phoned him to review the company's S-1 — its main IPO filing — he was surfing in the Maldives, the Journal reported. He flew a junior employee to the island chain to brief him rather than cut his trip short, the newspaper said.

Neumann's cofounder and wife Rebekah, the company's chief brand officer, also complicated matters. She insisted the S-1 be printed on recycled paper, but rejected early copies as too low quality, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The process was delayed by days and the original printer refused to keep working with WeWork, the Journal said. The startup ultimately gave the printing job to one of its tenants, a paper company.

WeWork didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Markets Insider.

WeWork scrapped its plans to go public last month after investors balked at its business model, mounting losses, corporate governance, and Neumann's controversial behavior. Running short of cash, WeWork accepted a $9.5 billion rescue deal from SoftBank this week, slashing its valuation to about $8 billion — a fraction of its private valuation of $47 billion in January — and giving the Japanese conglomerate control of the company.

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