SoftBank president Nikesh Arora resigns a day after clean chit from board

Nikesh Arora, who wrote fat cheques totalling nearly $3 billion for Indian start-ups such as Snapdeal and Ola since becoming president of SoftBank two years ago, is stepping down.
Arora, who was being seen as the successor to SoftBank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son, in a tweet said he plans to support the group for another year and “hence continuing as advisor”. Arora, who is the Representative Director, President and COO of SBG currently, will assume an advisory role, effective July 1.
“He should be CEO of a global business, and I had hoped to hand over the reins to him on my 60th birthday,” SoftBank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son said in a statement. “But I feel my work is not done. I want to… work on a few more crazy ideas. This will require me to be CEO for at least another five to 10 years. This is not a timeframe for me to keep Nikesh waiting for the top job.”
Arora posted on Twitter that billionaire founder “Masayoshi Son wanted to be CEO for longer, I did as promised, time to move on.” In another one, he said: “I am not sad. I learnt a lot, sitting with Masa at dinner and chatting about life in the future.”
Arora’s resignation came because he wanted to begin taking the reins “in a few years’ time”, SoftBank said, while Son intended to continue at the company’s helm “for the time being”.
The difference of expected timelines between the two leads to Arora’s resignation.”
Last August, Arora spent $483 million to buy SoftBank shares as a measure of his commitment to his employer. He has sold those shares to Son, incurring a small loss.
Arora had been under fire from some of SoftBank’s unnamed investors, who likened his investment strategy to “nothing more than throwing a dart at a dartboard”, and talked about a conflict of interest since Arora is also an advisor to private equity firm Silver Lake.
But SoftBank backed Arora to the hilt. An internal probe, whose results were disclosed on Monday, cleared Arora of all charges.
Paytm’s founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma looked worried on Twitter, saying: “@nikesharora Why o why? That’s a big setback for Indian startup ecosystem. Best wishes and hoping even bigger impact next.”
Both Arora as well as Kunal Bahl, Snapdeal’s founder and CEO, tried to soothe Sharma’s nerves. “Going to continue to support the Indian startup ecosystem….can’t change faith if you change jobs :)!” tweeted Arora. Snapdeal’s Bahl, in an email to HT, dispelled fears of its business getting affected by Arora’s leaving SoftBank: “Nikesh has been a great supporter and mentor to our business. Softbank will continue to provide financial and strategic support to our company and the transition at Softbank will have no impact on our business.”
As an indication of the 48-year-old Arora’s standing at SoftBank, Bloomberg data late last month showed his salary at $73 million a year, making him one of the highest paid executives in the world and putting him on a par with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Walt Disney’s Bob Iger.
No one was much surprised by Arora’s salary; he was handpicked by Son as his successor from Google, where he had spent 10 years and was heading global sales.
Arora will remain as an adviser to SoftBank, a role he assumes on July 1. “This will allow me to think about my next move,” he said.

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