A bloc of WeWork directors is planning to push Adam Neumann to step down as chief executive after a tumultuous week in which his eccentric behavior and drug use came to light and the startup delayed its much-anticipated stock-market listing.
A group including officials tied to SoftBank Group Corp.
, the company’s largest investor, wants Neumann to relinquish his title of CEO of We Co., the parent of the office-sharing company, people familiar with the matter said.
The board is expected to meet as soon as this week and potentially consider a proposal for Neumann to become We’s nonexecutive chairman, some of the people said. That would allow him to stay at the company he built into one of the country’s most valuable startups, but inject fresh leadership to pursue an IPO that would bring We the cash it needs to keep up its torrid growth.
The company burned through more than $2 billion in 2018 and analysts have projected that on its current path We will run through what it has on hand sometime next year.
Any attempted coup is a gamble: Neumann still has allies among the directors and the ability to fire the entire board thanks to shares he controls that carry extra votes. But SoftBank, which has invested more than $9 billion into the company and is represented on the board, has considerable influence too, and We needs the Japanese conglomerate to continue pumping in cash.
Popular on WSJ.com: