T-Mobile Chief Executive Officer John Legere isn’t taking the WeWork CEO job, according to people familiar with the matter.
Legere, who became CEO of T-Mobile in 2012, has no plans to leave the company, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is confidential. CNBC and The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that Legere was a candidate to be WeWork’s next CEO.
By taking himself out of the running, Legere is avoiding a potential conflict of interest. SoftBank is the controlling shareholder of Sprint, which is in the process of merging with T-Mobile, and is the majority owner of WeWork. Legere was never the front-runner to take the job, according to people familiar with the matter.
T-Mobile is still waiting for its acquisition of Sprint to be approved by numerous state attorneys general, who are suing to block the merger of the two carriers on grounds that it will hurt competition and lead to increased prices. That case goes to trial in December.
The delay has pushed the deal’s closing past a key date, Nov. 1, which allows both T-Mobile and Sprint to restructure terms of the merger, or even walk away. If Legere were to leave T-Mobile for WeWork, it could raise at least the perception of a conflict of interest.
Legere combines a brash attitude, somewhat reminiscent of WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann, with a strong track record of operational success, having transformed T-Mobile over the past decade from a bland No. 4 option in the U.S. wireless market to a strong and growing No. 3.
SoftBank is interviewing several candidates to succeed current WeWork co-CEOs Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham, according to people familiar with the process.
Legere didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A WeWork spokesperson declined to comment.