Former Google exec being groomed as a future leader quits company after CEO Masayoshi Son says he will stay on longer than originally planned.

Iain Morris, International Editor

June 22, 2016

2 Min Read
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."

For all the latest news from the wireless networking and services sector, check out our dedicated mobile content channel here on Light Reading.

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

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About the Author(s)

Iain Morris

International Editor, Light Reading

Iain Morris joined Light Reading as News Editor at the start of 2015 -- and we mean, right at the start. His friends and family were still singing Auld Lang Syne as Iain started sourcing New Year's Eve UK mobile network congestion statistics. Prior to boosting Light Reading's UK-based editorial team numbers (he is based in London, south of the river), Iain was a successful freelance writer and editor who had been covering the telecoms sector for the past 15 years. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist (classy!) and The Observer, besides a variety of trade and business journals. He was previously the lead telecoms analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and before that worked as a features editor at Telecommunications magazine. Iain started out in telecoms as an editor at consulting and market-research company Analysys (now Analysys Mason).

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