After months of grim headlines and an exodus of top staffers at WeWork, the office-sharing startup may be on the verge of losing another key employee before the end of September: its CEO, Adam Neumann.
The news that some of WeWork’s investors and board members want to fire Neumann comes in response to the CEO’s bizarre management style, reports of his possible drug use, and a year in which the startup’s valuation dropped to below $20 billion from $47 billion in January. WeWork planned to go public this month, but the company has since shelved its IPO until later this year.
While these factors are unique, the possible ouster itself is part of a growing tradition in tech: Nearly a dozen of the largest tech startups in recent memory have seen their founders pushed out.
The trend represents a tension that repeatedly surfaces between tech founders and their companies: Wunderkind startup founders capture investors’ attention with bold ideas and eccentric management strategies, but those assets can quickly become liabilities in the eyes of shareholders, especially with billions of dollars on the line.
Here’s a look back at nine founders who were forced out of the tech companies they started.
Meira Gebel and Kevin Webb contributed to an earlier version of this post.