A guest attends the opening ceremony of WeWork Hong Kong flagship location in Hong Kong, China February 23, 2017.
Bobby Yip | Reuters
WeWork cofounder Miguel McKelvey is leaving the company at the end of the month.
McKelvey, who founded WeWork with Adam Neumann in 2010, is one of the last executives remaining at WeWork since SoftBank took control last year. He leaves amidst mounting challenges at the company, including a new class action lawsuit over its failed 2019 IPO.
In an email to staff obtained by CNBC, McKelvey wrote, “After ten years, I’ve made one of the most difficult decisions of my life.”
“While it’s hard to leave, and I know there is a lot more work to be done, I could only make this decision knowing this company and our people are in good hands,” he said.
Throughout WeWork’s spectacular rise and fall, McKelvey took a backseat to Neumann. He was seen as the design brains, leveraging his background as an architect to redefine office space, while Neumann raised billions of dollars and expanded the mission with forays into education and co-living.
After Neumann stepped down as CEO last year, McKelvey stayed on as Chief Culture Officer and continued to work with new leadership implemented as part of SoftBank’s bailout in October that gave the Japanese conglomerate 80 percent ownership.
Forbes estimated that McKelvey’s net worth fell to $900 million from a peak of $2.9 billion after SoftBank’s bailout. But since then, SoftBank has pulled out of the tender offer portion to buy $3 billion worth of WeWork shares from investors, potentially further reducing McKelvey’s paper worth.
McKelvey’s departure also underpins WeWork’s dramatic public transformation from one of the fastest growing startups in the world — once valued at $47 billion — to a real estate operator last valued at $2.9 billion.
Other departures over the last year include WeWork’s chief technology officer Shiva Rajaraman, head of real estate Aaron Ellison and four board members.