Nikesh Arora has today announced that he will be stepping down from his post as President at SoftBank Group Corp. The former Google executive had a massive role to play in some of SoftBank’s acquisitions, and was also handpicked by founder and CEO Masayoshi Son as his successor. Despite being under pressure from shareholders because some of the recent deals, the reason behind Arora stepping down is believed to be Son’s decision to continue as CEO. Also Read - Softbank may invest in Reliance Jio as Mukesh Ambani deleverages businessAlso Read - SoftBank, other investors, keen to pump up to USD 1 bn in Ola
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, Son told WSJ. Soon after word got out that Arora was planning on stepping down, he tweeted, “Masa 2 continue 2 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 also tweeted that he had sold his shares in the company (worth over $482 million), but would continue to support the companies under SoftBank and will remain as an advisor for a year. He also confirmed that Son’s decision to stay CEO for longer was the reason for his move. Also Read - BSNL inks deal with SoftBank, NTT to roll out 5G, IoT services
Recently, Arora had been under pressure by SoftBank’s shareholders regarding some of the recent deals including those in Indian startups, especially Housing.com. Some of the investors are also said to have questioned his qualifications, but a special committee investigating these allegations today gave a clean chit to Arora.
Following the committee’s decision, Son said, “As I said when these allegations first became public, I have complete trust in Nikesh and I am pleased the special committee has looked into these claims thoroughly and concluded they are without merit.” But as it happens, his resignation has been announced on the same day he got a clean chit.
Arora joined SoftBank from Google almost two years ago, and was among the highest paid corporate executives in the world. A recent report stated that he received a package of about $73 million (Rs 500 crore), which also included compensation of $14.2 million from other SoftBank units. Under his guidance, SoftBank made some major investments in the Indian startup ecosystem, including Ola, Housing.com, Grofers and Snapdeal among others.