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SoftBank President Nikesh Arora Leaving Post Amid Investor Pressure

SoftBank President Nikesh Arora Leaving Post Amid Investor Pressure

Nikesh Arora, president and chief operating officer of Japan's SoftBank Group Corp (OTC: SFTBF) is stepping down amid pressure from investors, according to a company press release.

The departure of Arora, who was Chief Executive Masayoshi Son's handpicked successor, will assume an advisory role, effective July 1. This means that Son will continue as CEO of the firm, while Arora moves on his "next challenge," the release read.

"Nikesh is a unique leader with unparalleled skills around strategy and execution. He should be CEO of a global business, and I had hoped to hand over the reins of SoftBank to him on my 60th birthday — but I feel my work is not done," Son stated.

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"I want to cement SoftBank 2.0, develop Sprint to its true potential and work on a few more crazy ideas. This will require me to be CEO for at least another five to ten years — this is not a time frame for me to keep Nikesh waiting for the top job," Son added.

Arora, a former executive of Google, now Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL), joined Softbank from Google, where he was the chief business officer, in September 2014. During his tenure, Softbank invested in a several growth stage companies in India like Snapdeal, Ola, Oyo, Grofers, Housing and expanded its footprint in Asia with the mobile e-commerce company Coupang in Korea and the ride-share player Grab in Southeast Asia.

SoftBank also invested in SoFi, a fintech company. SoftBank recently sold $10 billion of shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA), reducing its stake to around 27 percent from 32 percent. Also, SoftBank agreed to sell its stake in Supercell for $7.3 billion.

Arora has spent nearly $4 billion investing in startups around the world in a hunt for a break-through technology company capable of driving future growth, according to Wall Street Journal coverage.

The Journal said Arora had already come under fire from shareholders over some of those deals, as well as his compensation, and some investors had questioned his qualifications. Arora got $135 million compensation in 2014 and another $73 million last year.

At the time of writing, shares of SoftBank rose 1.02 percent to $55.67.


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