Arora Removes Aura From SoftBank

Nikesh Arora has quit his role as president and chief operating officer of Japan's SoftBank after CEO and founder Masayoshi Son said he wanted to continue running the business for several more years.

Arora, a former senior executive at Google, was lured to SoftBank Corp. in 2014 to help the service provider expand into Internet and media markets and was being groomed as a successor to Son. (See SoftBank's Son Names Arora New President.)

Son was expected to hand control over to Arora next year but this week told reporters he had changed his mind and was keen on remaining at the helm for another five to ten years.

His comments appear to have triggered the resignation of Arora, who was evidently looking to take charge of SoftBank as soon as possible.

"Son's intention was to keep leading the Group in various aspects for the time being, while Arora wished to start taking over the lead in a few years' time," said SoftBank in a statement published on its website. "The difference of expected timelines between the two leads to Arora's resignation."

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Despite Arora's impressive reputation, and Son's apparent miscalculations in the last couple of years, SoftBank's share price closed up 2.6% in Tokyo today.

Arguably Son's biggest misjudgment was the $22 billion takeover of US operator Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) in 2013. Despite appointing a new CEO and funneling investments into networking improvements, SoftBank has been unable to bring about a recovery at Sprint, which still appears to be losing business to its chief rivals.

Burdened by interest-bearing debts, SoftBank has recently announced plans to sell various Internet assets including stakes in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and Finnish games maker Supercell -- the company behind the popular "Clash of Clans" game. (See SoftBank Sells Supercell to Tencent for $7.3B and SoftBank to Sell $7.9B of Alibaba Shares.)

Nevertheless, Son remains highly respected in Japan and the global tech community and investors appear to have taken heart from the news that he will continue to run SoftBank for the foreseeable future.

Ken Miyauchi, the boss of SoftBank's Japanese telco business, is to replace Arora as president and chief operating officer, the company has said.

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

mendyk 6/22/2016 | 10:37:22 AM
One less head to count Golden parachute aside, this might be a convenient way for SoftBank to save a few bucks. Not enough to solve its debt problem, but you gotta start somewhere.
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