With an aim to expand its overseas operations, Japanese telecoms & internet giant SoftBank Corp has appointed Nikesh Arora as its new president. He is currently serving in the capacity of investments head. Besides, SoftBank’s founder and chairman Masayoshi Son also anointed Nikesh Arora as his possible successor.
The move comes at a time when the group is looking to enter a new phase with increased investments in Asian technology companies. Arora is one of the four non-Japanese in the 14-member board of SoftBank.
Although Arora is de facto number 2 at the Japanese giant, it pulls him out from the direct responsibility of handling SoftBank Internet & Media Inc (SIMI). It is also noted that, Son and SoftBank are also looking to improve on profit at U.S. carrier Sprint Corp, which they bought in 2013 for more than $20 Bn.
Indian born Arora, was a senior vice president and chief business officer at Google before joining SoftBank in September 2014. He became one of the most powerful Google executives, and the highest paid in 2012, when he made $51 Mn in cash and stock.
Prior to that, he was working as a senior advisor of value creation at Silver Lake Partners. Earlier, he had also served as chief marketing officer and a member of the management board of T-Mobile International AG & Co.
Besides, he had also founded T-Motion Plc, a mobile multimedia subsidiary of T-Mobile International and also served as a non-executive director of Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel from 2008 to 2014.
As for his qualification, he holds an MS degree from Boston College and an MBA from Northeastern University in the US. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from IIT (BHU) Varanasi.
Arora was hired as Vice Chairman of SoftBank Corp and was CEO of a newly created unit called SoftBank Internet and Media Inc (SIMI), reporting directly to Son. As head of SIMI, he has already led a series of big investments in India tech space which includes Snapdeal with $627 Mn, leading a $210 Mn investment round in cabs aggregator Ola and a $90 Mn funding round in property search startup Housing.com.
Recently, he has resigned as a nominee director of Snapdeal, Ola & Housing.com, which is now seen as a part of restructuring. However, last year SoftBank had set a goal of investing around $10 Bn in India in the next decade. Arora is said to be taking the new position from June 19th.
Speaking on the appointment, Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank said, “As president of SoftBank Group, Nikesh will work with me to drive the transformation of SoftBank as it enters a new phase to create a sustainable business for centuries to come.” Many tech companies face a decline after 30 years due to evolving technologies, changing business models and overreliance on founders, he added.
According to the media reports, all group company assets will be consolidated under SBG, including SoftBank Mobile Corp (to be renamed SoftBank Corp on July 1), Yahoo Japan Corporation, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and all past and current investments by SB Group US, Inc (former SIMI).
The company statement says, Arora will take over as a ‘representative director’ from Ken Miyauchi, who would still remain a board member as director besides his operational designation of president and CEO of SoftBank Mobile Corp, the domestic telecommunications business.