A news announcement from SoftBank tonight won’t exactly allay the fears of investors who may already be alarmed by the conglomerate’s dismal performance this year.
The major news? Michel Combes, a French businessman who took over as CEO of SoftBank Group International in January after Marcelo Claure, a longstanding SoftBank ally, quit the organisation over a wage disagreement, is now also departing the organisation.
Combes has previously followed Claure’s movements. Claure served as CEO of SoftBank-owned Sprint from 2014 to 2018, when Combes took over as CEO until the spring of 2020, when, much to the relief of SoftBank, regulatory permission for Sprint’s merger with T-Mobile was granted.
Combes also claims some responsibility for WeWork’s transformation into a publicly traded company last October when it merged with a blank-check company, whether or not it is merited.
Combes does appear to be gearing himself for his next post by listing his many successes in that SoftBank release about the management change-up.
In his statement, he said, “It has been a pleasure to work with Masa and the excellent people across SoftBank. I am leaving SoftBank with the utmost pride in having accomplished my goals, which included turning around Sprint and carrying out its merger with T-Mobile, repositioning WeWork and successfully taking it public, and, most recently, the integration of the SoftBank Latin America Funds into the Vision Fund as well as managing SoftBank’s strategic investments in French company.Also Read
Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank Group, is reported as having said: “I want to congratulate Michel for his significant contributions to SoftBank over the past five years. I wish him luck with his future endeavours because he has been essential to some of our most valuable assets and investments. I’m pleased that he will continue to represent SoftBank on the boards of our numerous portfolio companies.
The press release doesn’t say much about Combes’ decision to quit SoftBank other than that he “has decided to depart SoftBank to pursue new possibilities.”
While Alex Clavel, a managing partner at SoftBank Group International who joined the company over seven years ago, replaces Combes as yet another SoftBank executive,
The move is certain to undercut SoftBank’s claim that it is regaining business momentum after suffering damage from outside influences such as China’s crackdown, rising interest rates, and Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.
He is the latest in a rising list of SoftBank workers to leave the company, joining Claure and the seven managing partners, including Deep Nishar, its most senior managing partner, who joined General Catalyst as a managing director, who left the company last year.
Ronald Fisher, Son’s longest-serving lieutenant (he joined SoftBank in 1995), and two of the three managing partners of SoftBank’s Latin America Fund—who announced in the spring that they were starting up their own venture firm—were among the most notable departures in 2022.
SoftBank seems destined to continue shrinking.
The corporation announced in the first half of last month that it will slow down the pace of new investments after reporting a record-breaking $13.2 billion loss in its most recent fiscal year. Since then, the market has only fallen further, increasing the burden on the firm’s numerous assets.