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Adam Neumann. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for WeWork.

Adam Neumann on Tuesday spoke publicly for the first time since being ousted as CEO of WeWork more than two years ago, expressing "regret" for the employees who lost their jobs but not apologizing for making around $1 billion on his way out the door.

  • "It was never my intention for the company not to succeed," Neumann offered while being interviewed at the New York Times DealBook Summit, saying he was slow to recognize that the markets in 2019 had shifted from valuing revenue growth to valuing profitability.
  • His most common refrain was "lessons learned."

More takeaways from the interview:

  • Neumann said that WeWork's $47 billion valuation in 2019, bestowed upon it by SoftBank, "went to his head" and made him believe his management style was working. The company formally went public last month via SPAC and is currently valued at around $7 billion.
  • When asked about rampant marijuana use at the company, Neumann replied: "We had a fun culture."
  • Neumann declined to comment on an audience member's suggestion that he share some of his wealth with WeWork employees who either lost their jobs or whose stock options are underwater.
  • He acknowledged widespread criticism of a novel accounting metric called "community adjusted EBITDA," saying that he's learned that "When it comes to finance, it's better to be boring."
  • Neumann confirmed reports that JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, whose bank had been tapped to lead WeWork's aborted IPO, told Neumann that he should step down as CEO. He also confirmed that he made initial contact with the head of the SPAC who would eventually take WeWork public.

Look ahead: Neumann says he is now investing out of a family office, investing in everything from venture capital to stocks to cryptocurrencies.

Go deeper

Nov 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Media startups anxiously await BuzzFeed’s stock market debut

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Digital media companies considering going public are watching BuzzFeed's expected stock market debut next week to see how investors will respond.

Why it matters: A slowdown in SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies) earlier this year pushed some digital media companies that were considering going public via SPAC IPOs away from the idea, such as Vice.

Updated 4 mins ago - Health

Massage, facial, pedicure... intravenous drip?

A salon on the Upper East Side of New York that offers IV drip therapies. Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson/Axios

IV drips — the kind you might get if you're rushed to the hospital — are trending as a spa treatment, thanks in part to endorsements by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Madonna.

Why it matters: Like other "wellness" trends with a whiff of medical imprimatur, IV nutrient drips can be harmless or mildly restorative — or go awry, particularly in the wrong hands.

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.