WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has led the company since cofounding it in 2010. On Wednesday, WeWork’s parent, the We Company, released paperwork for its upcoming initial public offering.
CEO coach and former venture capitalist Jerry Colonna told us CEOs who take their companies public must develop consistency of results from senior leadership, new ways of speaking with investors, and an ability to remain focused and calm under a constant barrage of attention and criticism.
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Since cofounding WeWork in 2010, Adam Neumann has led the office coworking company, under the umbrella The We Company, to a valuation of $47 billion with 466,000 members across 28 countries.
And now he’s about to take his company public.
The We Company released its S-1 prospectus on Wednesday ahead of an upcoming IPO. Not only will analysts and investors be poring over the firm’s financials, they’ll be assessing Neumann as the leader of a public company.
To get some insight into how the CEO role changes for chief executives taking their company public, we spoke with renowned CEO coach and former venture capitalist Jerry Colonna. Over his long career, Colonna helped develop the startup scene in New York City in the late 1990s alongside investor Fred Wilson, worked in JPMorgan’s private equity branch, and has coached an estimated 500 CEOs.
Colonna did not want to specifically analyze Neumann, but his broad insights into taking companies public offer a glimpse into what Neumann will be up against. “Every single stage in a company’s life requires a different skill set,” Colonna told Business Insider. He said that as any company scales, its leadership must also evolve. Regardless of sector or age, going public presents own unique challenges that must be overcome if CEOs want to keep their job.
Here are three things Colonna said all CEOs must do after taking their company public.
They need to build a senior leadership team that delivers consistent results.
The CEO of a company going public needs to build a support structure that provides stability, Colonna said. Shareholders of a public company need predictability, and the volatility that could be acceptable for a scaling startup won’t fly.
When growing a startup, CEOs need to learn to delegate tasks to executives who are better suited to a specific function of the business. When that company goes public, each of these functions needs to have clear goals that the CEO can trust will be met.
This doesn’t mean the company has to become boring, Colonna said, but the people in charge can’t be loose cannons. For example, when Facebook’s founding CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepared to scale Facebook, putting it on a path to its eventual IPO, he hired Sheryl Sandberg as his COO. Sandberg immediately became the staid operator who could deliver regular results to match Zuckerberg’s ambition.
They need to adjust the way they speak with …read more
Source:: Business Insider – Tech