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WeWork Taps Cushman & Wakefield Exec As New CEO As It Exits Bankruptcy

A WeWork sign at Carr Properties' Midtown Center at 100 15th St. in Washington, D.C.

WeWork exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday with a slimmer portfolio, a new private owner — and a new CEO. 

The coworking provider announced that David Tolley has resigned as CEO of the company following the completion of its restructuring. John Santora, who was previously Cushman & Wakefield’s Tri-State chairman, has been tapped to fill the role, starting Wednesday. 

Yardi Systems now owns a majority stake in WeWork and controls four of the seven seats of its new board of directors. 

“I want to personally thank David for guiding the Company through this complex process with vision and great skill, leaving us well-positioned for future growth,” Anant Yardi, the founder and CEO of Yardi Systems, said in a statement. “I also want to welcome John, who I have known and worked with for many years and is the perfect leader to take us forward.”

Tolley served as WeWork’s interim CEO beginning in May 2023 before being named the permanent head honcho in October. The company filed for bankruptcy weeks later. Its previous CEO, Sandeep Mathrani, exited in May 2023 during a spree of departures

Santora spent 47 years at Cushman & Wakefield. In 2016, he stepped down as global chief operating officer of the company to manage its New York operations, telling Commercial Observer at the time that he wanted to switch his focus on his home market. 

Now, he’s back on the global stage. 

“I firmly believe that flexible work is no longer just an option, but rather a strategic imperative for companies wanting to maximize the efficiency of their real estate footprint, as well as their dynamic workforce,” Santora said in a statement. “While there is much work to do, with these supportive, structural trends, and a restructured organization in place, I could not be more confident in our future and I am energized and excited by the challenge that lies ahead.”

Cushman & Wakefield and WeWork have for years had a close relationship. The brokerage invested $150M in WeWork when it went public, an investment that became worthless when the coworking firm filed for bankruptcy.

WeWork also partnered with Cushman & Wakefield to manage staffing for facilities maintenance and upkeep, an agreement that was on the rocks during the bankruptcy process before the companies eventually came to new terms.

“John has played an instrumental role in growing our firm to its leading position today. His impact on our culture has been equally significant,” Cushman & Wakefield President and COO Andrew McDonald said in a statement. “While we are sad to see him go, it makes it easier knowing he is going to a long-term important client.”

Santora will join four Yardi executives on WeWork's new board, alongside King Street’s head of restructuring and a partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, both firms that had invested in WeWork before the bankruptcy and helped finance its restructuring. 

WeWork's bankruptcy plan won final approval at the end of last month. Over the last year, WeWork has manage to slash its rental obligations by $12B and exit hundreds of locations. Its financial projections, which co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann blasted as “unrealistic and unlikely to succeed,” call for it to be profitable starting in 2025.