WeWork’s Chief Legal Officer Berrent Is In Talks to Depart
(Bloomberg) -- WeWork Chief Legal Officer Jennifer Berrent is in discussions to leave the co-working startup, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Berrent, who was co-president in addition to her legal role when the company filed to go public last year, is in early talks about a departure during the first quarter of 2021, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Transition plans aren’t yet set, this person added.
A WeWork spokeswoman declined to comment and said Berrent declined to comment.
Berrent, who previously held roles at WeWork including chief culture officer, joined the company in 2014 from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, where she was a partner. Her 2018 total compensation of $878,885 exceeded that of Artie Minson, her co-president and WeWork’s chief financial officer at the time, by 30%, the IPO filing showed.
Berrent, Minson and co-founder Adam Neumann were WeWork’s three named executive officers at the time of the planned IPO. The public share sale never happened, leaving the company scrambling for alternative financing. It’s now essentially controlled by SoftBank Group Corp., its largest shareholder, and led by executive chairman Marcelo Claure and Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Mathrani.
Berrent’s WeWork tenure included her overseeing the company’s investment in The Wing, a co-working startup dedicated to female empowerment, which it has since sold.
She was named as a defendant in a discrimination case that alleged she called a WeWork employee’s pregnancy a “problem” that needed “a solution” and “to be fixed,” according to the complaint filed last year. In a separate gender discrimination lawsuit, another employee alleged Berrent tried to justify a pay disparity by asserting that “men take risks and women don’t.”
Another complaint against WeWork, filed in February, alleged that Berrent told the company’s diversity team that she “can’t empathize with Black people.”
Berrent has rejected the claims. Last year in a statement, WeWork said it has “zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”
Earlier this year, SoftBank wrote down WeWork’s valuation to $2.9 billion, a more than 90% discount from its $47 billion peak.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.