Early this year, a group of investors had asked the Board to investigate Arora for his poor investment performance and a series of questionable transactions during his tenure as Head of Investments
Nikesh Arora has stepped down as COO and President of Japanese Internet conglomerate SoftBank Corp, two months after a group of investors demanded an investigation into his “poor investment performance and a series of questionable transactions” during his tenure as Head of Investments.
Arora, who was handpicked by Founder and CEO Masayoshi Son two years ago and was expected to be his heir apparent, will however continue to be an advisor to SoftBank.
Surprisingly, the resignation comes after SoftBank said the allegations levelled against Arora were “without merit”.
“Masa 2 continue 2 be CEO for 5-10 years, respect that. Learnt a lot. Clean chit from board after through review. Time for me to move on (sic),” Arora said in a Twitter post.
Masa 2 continue 2 be CEO for 5-10 years, respect that. Learnt a lot. Clean chit from board after through review. Time for me to move on.
— Nikesh Arora (@nikesharora) June 21, 2016
Son also confirmed the move, saying he would continue as CEO longer than planned. “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 Son, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Early this year, a group of investors had asked the Board to investigate Arora for his “poor investment performance and a series of questionable transactions” during his tenure as Head of Investments.
In letter to the company’s board in January this year, one of the investors had also sought his possible dismissal and questioned his track record and qualifications as heir apparent to Son. The investor group had also asked SoftBank to investigate whether Arora had any conflicts of interest due to his existing role as a senior adviser to VC firm Silver Lake.
The investor group had said that an internal investigation by an independent firm would establish grounds SoftBank and Sprint (which SoftBank acquired in 2013) to dismiss Arora.
A former Google executive, Arora previously worked as a telecom analyst at Putnam Investments. He then went on to create his own mobile data startup in 2000 and also worked with T-Mobile in various capacities including as CMO of its European Business and a member of the Board. At Google, Arora was responsible for all partnerships, marketing, sales and customer activities in addition to being part of the company’s management team. He has an MBA from Northeastern University, a Master’s Degree in Finance from Boston College and graduated as an Electrical Engineer from IIT-BHU.
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