Tuesday 9 July 2019 9:01 am

Wework poaches Facebook executive as it gears up for stock market float

Wework has poached senior Facebook executive Martin Ott as the firm looks to beef up its management team ahead of its highly-anticipated stock market debut.

Ott, who previously served as Facebook’s managing director for central Europe, will join the flexible workspace firm as managing director for EMEA, City A.M. can reveal.

Read more: EMA to sublet Canary Wharf building to Wework after High Court defeat

“[Wework] are driving a global revolution in the way we think about community-building through both physical and digital spaces, and I’m hugely excited to be joining such a talented team,” Ott said.

The appointment comes as Wework, which rebranded as The We Company earlier this year, ramps up its European presence in preparation for an initial public offering (IPO).

In March the New York-headquartered tech firm tapped Uber’s UK manager Tom Elvidge as its new chief operating officer for Europe. It has also appointed former KFC legal chief Sarah Nelson Smith as its first European general counsel.

Wework has enjoyed a period of rapid expansion and now boasts almost 500 locations in 105 cities – soon rising to 749 in 124 cities – as it cashes in on growing demand for flexible working space, especially among younger workers.

HSBC last month signed a deal to take more than a thousand desks at Wework’s Southbank Place development near Waterloo, while the office provider is set to take 284,000 square feet of space in Canary Wharf later this year.

Despite the growth, some eyebrows have been raised over Wework’s bumper float, which will come in the wake of disappointing stock market debuts for tech giants Uber and Lyft.

Wework was last valued at $47bn (£36bn), but faces scrutiny over whether its loss-making business model is sustainable over the long term.

The firm also suffered a blow in January when Japanese investment giant Softbank scrapped plans to take a majority stake in the company, opting instead for a more modest $2bn injection.

Read more: Wework reports $264m loss ahead of stock market debut

But Wework is reportedly looking to bolster investor confidence by raising debt to fund its growth in the aftermath of the float.

The firm is aiming to raise as much as $3bn to $4bn over the coming months, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A Wework spokesperson declined to comment on the IPO.

Main image credit: Getty