SoftBank CEO-elect Nikesh Arora steps down suddenly

22 Jun 2016
Daily News

In a surprise move, SoftBank president and heir apparent Nikesh Arora (pictured) has stepped down from his role.

Nikesh announced on Twitter that current SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son will continue to be CEO for the next 5-10 years, and he has therefore decided to move on from the company.

Nikesh had been selected last year to be groomed to replace Son, following a $482 million investment in SoftBank that Nikesh had described as “a personal bet on the Softbank Group.” Nikesh had joined SoftBank in 2014 from Google, where he was Chief Business Officer.

At the time the succession seemed to be a done deal. But in a statement, Son said his plans have changed.

“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 said.

“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 timeframe for me to keep Nikesh waiting for the top job.”

Son said Nikesh will continue to act in an advisory role for Softbank starting from July 1.

At the start of this year a US law firm called for an independent investigation into Nikesh, citing unnamed SoftBank investors, accusing him of having a conflict of interest and strongly criticizing his investment strategy on behalf of SoftBank.

But the day before Nikesh announced his resignation, the SoftBank board had announced that a special committee had found the allegations to be without merit.

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