WeWork's founder and CEO didn't take a salary last year as the company prepared for its massive IPO

Adam Neumann, the billionaire Israeli businessman and founder of WeWork, didn't take a salary in 2018, the company said Wednesday.

The revelation comes as The We Company, as 10-year-old WeWork is now known, filed for an initial public offering.

While the company's chief financial and legal officers were paid $51,000 and $871,154 in salaries (and another $625,000 and 7,731 in equity compensation), respectively, Neumann received nothing. In 2017, the company said, he received $1. 

Neumann, 40, likely isn't feeling too much of a hit from the lack of salary though. He's worth an estimated $4.1 billion now, a far cry from the shoe-box sized New York City apartment where he was living in the early 2000's.

Many CEOs receive most of their compensation in the form of shares or stock options to buy shares at a given price and time. Often, those stock or option grants don't vest or become available to the chief executive until some amount of time has passed. Tesla's Elon Musk, for example, tied his compensation to the company's performance. 

Neumann also owns a significant majority of the company's voting stock, including 100% of its Class C shares, on top of 2.3 million Class A shares and 112.5 million Class B shares. That means, like many other tech firms which have gone public recently, Neumann will maintain significant control, while other investors who buy stock in the IPO, will have very little say.

"Because Adam will control a majority of our outstanding voting power, we will be a "controlled company" under the corporate governance rules for     -listed companies," the company's regulatory filing says, omitting a specific market like NYSE or Nasdaq as of now. 

"Therefore, we may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance standards, such as the requirement that our board of directors have a compensation committee and nominating and corporate governance committee composed entirely of independent directors. For at least some period following completion of this offering, we intend to take advantage of these exemptions."

He's also critical to the company's operations, the filing warns.

"Adam Neumann … is critical to our operations," the company said. "Adam has been key to setting our vision, strategic direction and execution priorities. We have no employment agreement in place with Adam, and there can be no assurance that Adam will continue to work for us or serve our interests in any capacity. If Adam does not continue to serve as our Chief Executive Officer, it could have a material adverse effect on our business."

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