The company, formerly called WeWork, was co-founded in 2010 by Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, and from the beginning, the company’s practices strayed from the traditional.
The Journal article listed a litany of incidents. Neumann reportedly walks around without shoes and blasts Rihanna. He offers suggestions like starting an airline or adding a pool to the headquarters’ basement. He hosted a “summer camp” for employees southeast of London, a music festival-like experience where “bartenders handed out free rosé by the bottle.” He reportedly smoked marijuana on a private jet flight from New York to Israel, causing the plane company’s owners to be concerned that they could get in trouble for international drug trafficking.
Neumann has said he likes how alcohol brings people together. Tequila is his favorite, and it’s often part of company events — executive retreats feature bottles of Don Julio 1942 — sometimes even morning ones.
It was his way to connect to his staff and lift morale weeks after he fired 7% of the company in 2016, the Journal reported. At the meeting where he addressed the cuts, employees walked in with tequila shots, leading to toasts and more drinks. Legendary rapper Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC soon walked in and started performing. Some danced to “It’s Tricky” while others looked on incredulously.
We Co.’s office culture may be changing, though. The summer camp event was canceled this year, and Neumann reportedly has been taking lengthy breaks from alcohol and partying.