October 2, 2019 / 9:53 AM / 17 days ago

WeWork Japan replaces CEO days after WeWork founder resignation

TOKYO, Oct 2 (Reuters) - WeWork Japan on Wednesday named a new head of local operations, just days after WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann stepped down as CEO of parent The We Company following a botched IPO attempt.

Kazuyuki Sasaki moves from managing director to CEO of WeWork Japan, a joint venture from WeWork and its biggest backer SoftBank Group Corp, the company said in a statement.

Sasaki replaces Chris Hill, who has served as CEO since WeWork entered Japan in 2017, in the latest shakeup at the startup which pulled its IPO following investor scepticism over its valuation and corporate governance.

The money-losing startup is looking to trim its workforce and slow expansion to preserve cash as it seeks alternative sources of funding, sources have told Reuters.

WeWork Japan has grown to 21 in 5 cities in just 20 months, in part by filling seats with SoftBank employees, with WeWork also designing the tech conglomerate’s new Tokyo headquarters.

WeWork is a cornerstone bet for SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which after burning through most of its first $100 billion fund is currently fundraising for a second.

Reporting by Sam Nussey, editing by Louise Heavens

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