SoftBank operating chief Nikesh Arora, who was expected to take over for CEO Masayoshi Son, will step down and take an advisory role.
Arora was a high-profile hire from Google. Arora's job description included "creating SoftBank 2.0" and finding new growth markets. Arora invested about $4 billion in startups such as Snapdeal, Ola and Grab, monetized the company's Alibaba stake and sold off other assets such as Supercell. Arora had been chief business officer at Google.
Along with the Arora move, SoftBank said Tencent will buy its majority stake in Supercell, which is valued at $10.2 billion.
In a statement, Son noted:
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. 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.
However, Arora was under fire from investors. The Wall Street Journal noted that there were hackles over Arora's pay package as well as leadership and qualifications. SoftBank said the complaints were without merit.
For his part, Arora is planning to "look forward to my next challenge."
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