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SoftBank Plans to Name Former Sprint Boss to Help Fix WeWork

Giles Turner, Sarah McBride and Liana Baker

(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. is tapping Marcelo Claure to help turn around WeWork, after ousting co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Adam Neumann from the corner office earlier this week.

Masayoshi Son, the head of SoftBank, WeWork’s largest investor, has asked the former chief executive officer of Sprint Corp. to take a more hands-on role helping oversee a cleanup of the office-rental company from his position at SoftBank, said people familiar with the matter, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. No decision has been made on his exact role, the people said.

Claure will help WeWork’s new leadership identify revenue and cost-saving opportunities, one of the people said.

Representatives for WeWork, SoftBank and Claure declined to comment.

In Claure, Son would be tapping an executive with a track record of fixing companies and overseeing his firm’s investments.

The 48-year-old joined SoftBank in 2013, when the Japanese firm bought Brightstar, a phone distribution company Claure ran. Son tapped him in 2014 to run Sprint, which he helped turn around prior to the company’s pending sale to rival T-Mobile US Inc. He remains executive chairman of Sprint.

Claure is currently chief operating officer of SoftBank Group, CEO of its international operations and a member of its board. He also oversees the firm’s $5 billion technology fund focused on Latin America, which it launched this year.

After clashing with Rajeev Misra, head of the Vision Fund, the firm’s $100 billion investment vehicle, Claure changed his role at SoftBank, Bloomberg reported in February. Claure, already chief operating officer of SoftBank Group, was tasked with leading a new Latin America investment fund and helping Vision Fund companies expand into that region. He retained his duties overseeing SoftBank Group assets such as asset manager Fortress Investment Group, Sprint Corp., ARM Holdings Plc and WeWork.

Neumann stepped down as chief executive officer of WeWork this week under pressure from SoftBank and other backers. Neumann was named non-executive chairman while senior WeWork executives Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson were appointed co-CEOs.

The management shake-up came after WeWork’s plan to raise $3 billion in an initial public offering this month disintegrated over corporate governance concerns and boardroom drama.

We Co., WeWork’s parent company, has likely delayed its IPO until 2020, people familiar with the mater said this week.

(Updates with background in eighth paragraph.)

--With assistance from Nabila Ahmed and Gillian Tan.

To contact the reporters on this story: Liana Baker in New York at lbaker75@bloomberg.net;Giles Turner in London at gturner35@bloomberg.net;Sarah McBride in San Francisco at smcbride24@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Hauck at dhauck1@bloomberg.net, ;Mark Milian at mmilian@bloomberg.net, Liana Baker

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