After clean chit, Arora makes a clean break from SoftBank

Nearly 24 hours after Nikesh Arora, representative director, resident and chief operating officer of SoftBank Group (SBG) was given a clean chit, he decided to resign. Arora, however, would
remain an advisor to SoftBank.

“Masa to continue to be CEO for 5-10 years, respect that. Learnt a lot. Clean chit from board after thorough review. Time for me to move on,” Arora tweeted.

The man behind big-bang investments in start-ups such as Snapdeal, OYO Rooms and, has been in the eye of the storm.

He recently faced investor ire for allegedly making a series of questionable transactions and having a poor track record with the investments made. There were also allegations of conflict of interest.

Arora, who took over as president of SoftBank in May 2015, was the heir apparent to billionaire CEO Masayoshi Son.

However, in a statement on Tuesday, SoftBank said differences between Arora and Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SBG, over when the former ought to take over the leadership of SoftBank led to Arora’s departure.

“Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SBG, had been considering Arora as a strong candidate for succession. Son’s intention was to keep leading the group in various aspects for the time being, while Arora wished to take over the lead in a few years’ time. The difference of expected timelines between the two led to Arora’s resignation from the position of representative director and director of SBG, with the expiration of term of office,” SoftBank said in a statement, on its company website.

Arora, on Monday, had received a clean chit from a special committee of independent members of its board of directors set up to review allegations. SBG further said Arora would resign from the position, with the expiration of term of office at the conclusion of the 36th annual general meeting of shareholders. Son, in a statement, said he would continue as CEO longer than planned and Arora, who he recruited two years ago, would step down to pursue a different path.

“I was thinking of handing over my job as CEO when I turn 60, but thought maybe I’m still a bit too young, and still have energy to continue,” said 58-year-old Son in a statement. Arora, who was earlier with Google, assumed the position of vice-chairman of SBG and CEO of SB Group US, Inc. (former SoftBank Internet and Media, Inc) in September 2014, and has been involved in the execution of the growth strategy of the group. 

In January this year, when Son came to India to take part in Startup India, he said he was betting on India emerging bigger than China. He also said SBG has invested around $2 billion in Indian firms in the past one year and will look at scaling up investment to $10 billion the following year.
The Japanese telecommunications major has been on a selling spree. Earlier this month, it said it planned to sell $10 billion worth of Alibaba shares to help pare interest-laden debt.

SOURCE - business-standard.

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