Tech

WeWork CEO returns $5.9 million the company paid him for 'We' trademark

Key Points
  • WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has returned about $5.9 million worth of stock that was originally paid to him to acquire the trademark "We."
  • In an amended S-1 document filed on Wednesday, WeWork's parent company said it was unwinding the agreement "at Adam's direction."
  • The $5.9 million payment was cited by critics as an example of WeWork's less-than-stellar corporate governance.
CEO of WeWork Adam Neumann
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WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has returned about $5.9 million worth of stock that was originally paid to him to acquire the trademark "We."

In an amended S-1 filing on Wednesday, WeWork's parent company, the We Company, noted that it was unwinding the agreement "at Adam's direction." The $5.9 million was issued to Neumann after WeWork rebranded to the We Company in January. 

"Subsequently, at Adam's direction, the issuance to WE Holdings LLC of the partnership interests was unwound and the partnership interests were returned to the We Company Partnership," the filing states. "The We Company continues to hold all of the assigned rights to the 'we' family trademarks."

WeWork in July adopted a complicated corporate structure, called an umbrella corporation, or Up-C. As part of the move, the We Company acquired the trademark to "We" from We Holdings LLC, an investment vehicle with Neumann and co-founder Miguel McKelvey, and in exchange received an additional stake worth about $5.9 million.

The trademark payment was cited by critics as an example of WeWork's less-than-stellar corporate governance.

The new filing also notes that WeWork appointed Frances Frei, a Harvard Business School professor and a former head of leadership and strategy at Uber, to its board. Frei represents WeWork's first female director, a change from its much-criticized all-male board of directors

The We Company noted in the filing that it expects to name another director to its board one month after its IPO, "with a commitment to increasing the board's gender and ethnic diversity."

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