December 16, 2019

WeWork Spinoff Conductor Becomes Employee-Owned

The troubled firm WeWork bought the SEO and content marketing company Conductor in 2018 for $120 million. After WeWork announced it would spin off Conductor, the company's founder Seth Besmertnik reported that he—and all 250 of his coworkers—would be the new owners. In his own words:

"We have always sought to operate Conductor differently. Our vision is to create an environment in which every stakeholder, every person that makes up the company, feels valuable... A company where, perhaps, your salary isn't the only or even the most valuable thing you're getting from your job.

"So, with a clean slate, we asked ourselves how we could take our people-first culture and approach, and ground it in our legal structure and ownership...

"Every Conductor will become a real co-founder. All of our shareholders will have the same and senior-most class of stock -- from me as CEO, to each of the other people at the company who serve their own critical role, to investors. Our co-founder employees will have the right to appoint an employee member to our Board of Directors and a host of other benefits and protections we’ll share at a later date. We even structured the business in a way to minimize taxes for our team versus stock options. We tried to think of everything."