Benjamin Dunham, finance chief of WeWork Americas division, has been promoted to global CFO, replacing Kimberly Ross, the company said Wednesday. Dunham will report directly to CEO Sandeep Mathrani.
Ross, who stepped in as CFO in March, will be stepping down at the end of the month. Ross will remain with the company through October to help facilitate the transition. Ross, a 25-year corporate finance veteran, is leaving "for personal reasons," the embattled New York, New York-based coworking startup said in a statement.
"It's a momentous time to be at WeWork, as the value of flexible space has never been stronger," Dunham said in the release. "With the hard work our company has undertaken over the past year, we are well on the path to profitability, and I look forward to partnering with Sandeep and the leadership team to achieve our vision."
The CFO shake-up comes as WeWork struggles to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its commercial real estate business.
Though many of its locations remain open, social distancing mandates have forced WeWork to space out its desks, meaning "the still loss-making business generates less revenue per square foot in some of its locations," the Wall Street Journal reported.
WeWork's downward tumble began with the cancellation of its planned IPO last year, following concerns about valuation, stability and profitability under co-founder and then-CEO Adam Neumann.
Since then, the company has worked to keep its costs low and its doors open, despite the gutting impacts of the pandemic. Last month, it nearly ran out of cash, but SoftBank Group, one of its shareholders, swooped in with a $1.1 billion bail-out.
In the second quarter, WeWork "burned through $671 million in cash, nearly half of what it recorded in cash burn in the fourth quarter of 2019, which—at $1.3 billion—was [its] highest," according to the Journal.
"They have been able to keep the lights on and continue to find ways to cut costs," Morningstar Research Services equity analyst Yousuf Hafuda told the Journal. "If things normalize [in relation to the coronavirus pandemic], there is a path towards profitability in the next few years."
Prior to stepping in as CFO of WeWork Americas in 2018, Dunham spent 12 years at restaurant conglomerate Yum Brands, where he served as CFO of Pizza Hut Asia in 2013 and later as head of finance for Pizza Hut U.S. in 2016, the release said.
Prior to her six-month stint at WeWork, Ross led finance at oil services firm Baker Hughes. She also worked at Nestlé, Avon Products and Ernst & Young.
Representatives for Dunham and for WeWork declined requests for comment.