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Week in review: T-Mobile, Airbnb, WeWork, and more!

By Christian Wylonis
T-Mobile Store in New York
Image credit: Helen89 / Shutterstock.com

Every week we bring you an overview of the most important executive changes from around the world. This week, T-Mobile announced that CEO John Legere will step down this spring, Airbnb COO Belinda Johnson plans to leave the company in April, and WeWork names four men to executive roles. Read more about this and other notable executive changes:

T-Mobile CEO John Legere Stepping Down

T-Mobile announced this week that CEO John Legere will step down this spring and hand over the reins to President and COO Mike Sievert, a Legere protégé that has played a key role in the company’s transformation under Legere. The company said Legere would remain on the board. Since joining T-Mobile in 2012, Legere has led the transformation of the struggling company into the third-largest carrier in the U.S., primarily by luring customers away from bigger rivals AT&T and Verizon. Leger has been instrumental in navigating T-Mobile’s pending $26.5 billion acquisition of Sprint which has been delayed by an antitrust lawsuit brought by several state attorneys general. As for his future plans, Leger indicated that he is contemplating his next chapter at other companies that are interested in turning around their culture.

Airbnb COO Belinda Johnson to Leave the Company

Airbnb Chief Operating Officer Belinda Johnson will be leaving the company on March 1, 2020. Johnson, who joined the company in 2011, was Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky’s first executive hire. Prior to becoming chief operating officer, she was the chief business affairs and legal officer navigating the company through regulatory and legal challenges. In an email to staff that was viewed by CNBC, Johnson said that her decision to leave the company stems from her need to prioritize more time to spend with her family. She will not be leaving the company entirely as she will join the company’s board of directors as its ninth member. The news comes as Airbnb is preparing to make its initial public offering next year.

WeWork names four men to executive roles

WeWork's Chairman Marcelo Claure announced four new executives during an all-staff meeting on Friday morning after major layoffs on Thursday. Most notably, Maurice Levy, the 77-year-old former CEO and current Chairman of Publicis Groupe, was named as Interim Chief Marketing and Communications Officer. In addition to the Levy appointment, Mike Bucy from SoftBank, will be chief transformation officer, Ralf Wenzel, also from SoftBank, will be chief product and experience officer, and Matt Jahansouz was promoted to chief people officer. WeWork’s co-CEOs, Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham, would remain in their roles. Claure said that, in the future, WeWork would add more women to the executive team and its all-male board.

Norwegian Air Appoints Jacob Schram as New CEO

Norwegian Air announced the appointment of a new CEO, Jacob Schram, to lead the company as it emerges from a debt crisis triggered by its aggressive expansion and rising costs. During the summer, it was announced that Norwegian Air’s co-founder and CEO, Bjorn Kjos, would be stepping down after presiding over the growth of the company from a small domestic airline to Europe’s third-largest low-cost carrier. Schram brings 30 years of business experience to the table previously holding executive positions at Circle K, Statoil Fuel & Retail, McDonald’s and McKinsey. Most recently, Schram authored the book “The Essence of Business.” Geir Karlsen, who has been serving as interim CEO since July, will continue as CFO and Deputy CEO.

Uber Chief Product Officer to Step Down

Uber’s Chief Product Officer Manik Gupta announced this week that he is leaving the company on December 13. Gupta joined Uber from Google in 2015 as a senior director of the maps and marketplace product team. He was promoted to chief product officer of Uber in November 2018. The announcement comes at a challenging time for Uber as it continues to incur significant losses since going public this year and amid layoffs of more than 1,000 employees. Gutpta, who remains “very bullish on Uber’s future,” plans to take a break and spend time with his family before making his next move according to TechCrunch. Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will take charge after Gupta departs while the company searches for his replacement.

Former Barney’s CEO Daniella Vitale Joins Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. announced that it has hired the former chief executive of Barneys New York, Daniella Vitale, as executive vice president and chief brand officer starting on December 1. She will oversee global merchandising and marketing strategy in her new role as the 182-year old brand endeavors to modernize its brand identity to appeal to younger shoppers. The announcement comes just weeks after Vitale left Barneys which was sold out of bankruptcy to a new owner, Authentic Brands Group. Vitale joined Barneys in 2010 as chief merchant and executive vice president prior to being promoted to chief operating officer in 2013 and CEO in 2017. Her appointment comes at a crucial time for Tiffany & Co. as it evaluates a $15.8 billion takeover offer from French luxury group LVMH, which would be its largest acquisition, if successful.

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