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SoftBank Strategy Chief To Depart Within Less Than Three Years: Bloomberg

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  • Japanese investment conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp’s (OTC: SFTBF) (OTC: SFTBY) Chief Strategy Officer Katsunori Sago is planning to depart within less than three years at the company, as other executives gain importance, Bloomberg reports. The Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) veteran who joined SoftBank in June 2018 will resign on March 31.
  • The 53-year-old was a key member of founder Masayoshi Son’s inner circle. SoftBank never elaborated on his role as CSO, which did not exist before his joining. He had formed a small team of former Goldman bankers and set up an investment department in April over the past few years.
  • Son acknowledged Sago’s contribution to SoftBank’s transformation into a strategic investment holding company and a vital role in expanding its potential as an investment company.
  • Rumors about his departure started brewing late last year as Sago seemed increasingly adrift while other Son lieutenants, including COO Marcelo Claure and Vision Fund head Rajeev Misra, began to assume more prominent roles in public markets and startup investment.
  • In November, SoftBank notified the departure of Sago and three other directors to raise the proportion of outside directors and improve corporate governance. Sago earned $10.2 million (1.11 billion yen) in FY20, signifying a 13% jump from the previous year.
  • In January, Vision Fund managing partner Colin Fan, a former Deutsche Bank AG banker focused on technology bets, departed along with Jeff Housenbold, the managing partner involved in its bets on startups, including DoorDash Inc (NYSE: DASH) and dog-walking startup Wag. Fan had overseen the fund’s investment in troubled lender Greensill Capital.
  • The Vision Fund planned to reduce headcount by 15% last year following an $18 billion loss due to the pandemic. The cuts reportedly focused on employees who supported portfolio companies. SoftBank Group International’s arm cut down its staff by 26 out of 230.
  • Price action: SFTBY shares are down 0.22% at $45.68 on the last check Friday.
 

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