WeWork regional MD Turochas Fuad departs; firm names new Pacific MD

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SINGAPORE – The managing director (MD) of South-east Asia and Korea, “T” , has left the company to pursue other interests, he announced in a LinkedIn post late Monday evening (June 1).

In a press release on Tuesday morning, the co-working space operator named real estate veteran Samit Chopra as its new MD for the Pacific region, overseeing Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea and Australia.

The leadership reshuffle comes as the struggling is attempting a turnaround following its botched listing attempt in 2019. WeWork reported a net loss of US$1.25 billion (S$1.76 billion) in the third quarter last year.

In the LinkedIn post, Mr Fuad said that he has decided to shift his attention to his “next entrepreneurial path”. He joined WeWork after Spacemob, the Singapore-based co-working startup he founded, was acquired by WeWork in 2017 for an undisclosed sum.

“It is something I’ve mulled over for a while now and I can feel my entrepreneurial spirit calling again. I will be forever grateful for the lifetime memories, amazing friends I’ve come to know and the difference we’ve made,” he said in the post.

Mr Fuad noted that he had scaled WeWork’s presence in South-east Asia from three to 34 locations, personally interviewed the first 150 employees to join the business and also spearheaded its business transformation in South Korea.

Mr Chopra, whose appointment was effective on Monday, brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry to WeWork. He was most recently executive vice-president of enterprise and sales at office space provider IWG.

Prior to that, he held senior roles at real estate services firm JLL, including as international director and head of integrated portfolio services for Europe, the Middle East and Americas.

Based in Singapore, Mr Chopra will be responsible for WeWork Pacific’s financial management, go-to-market strategy, sales leadership, growth and innovation, and talent development. He will report to WeWork’s international chief operating officer, Eugen Miropolski.

“I am excited to join the company at this pivotal point, partnering closely with Eugen and the leadership team to position WeWork Pacific for long-term success, while working across all levels of the business on our path to profitable growth,” Mr Chopra said in the press release.

Mr Miropolski said: “The Pacific region continues to be one of our key markets globally, and we are committed to strengthening our regional leadership team as we focus on executing our five-year strategic plan.”

The five-year plan is helmed by WeWork’s chairman Marcelo Claure, and is part of the embattled company’s effort to win back investor confidence. In March this year, WeWork set 2022 as its target for becoming cashflow positive.

In an interview with The Straits Times back in January, Mr Fuad had said that the Singapore market is “very profitable” for WeWork and indicated that the company will continue to expand in the Republic.

But the financial health of the regional business is uncertain. According to The Business Times in April, the entity WeWork Singapore Pte Ltd, which holds interests in various South-east Asian units of the company, recorded a S$42.4 million loss in 2018, on the back of S$17.2 million in revenue.

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