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SoftBank slashes its board membership as firm returns to profit

The company logged a $6.1 billion profit after a tumultuous year that saw historic annual losses, thanks in part to its investment in WeWork.

SoftBank slashes its board membership as firm returns to profit
[Photo: Getty]
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Japan’s massive SoftBank Group—one of the biggest tech investors on the planet—has made a few significant announcements after reporting its July-September quarter results. The company, run by chief executive Masayoshi Son, was once the darling of the tech investment world thanks to its $100 billion Vision Fund. However, SoftBank took a beating last year after a number of bad investments went south—notably its investment in WeWork.

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Those poor investment choices led to SoftBank’s worst annual loss in its history in the March quarter—to a tune of a $9 billion hold. Now, however, SoftBank has announced that the quarter ending in September saw a profit of $6.1 billion—a remarkable turnaround, reports The Wall Street Journal. The profit rode on the back of a $19 billion investment gain during the quarter, part of which was due to SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 investment in Chinese online real-estate broker Beike Zhaofang, which had its successful IPO in August.

However, as Bloomberg reports, the return to profitability hasn’t stopped changes from happening at the company. The firm has announced that four of its current directors will leave the board in a bid to separate operations from management. The changes will leave SoftBank with nine board members, and the company will be open to influence from external directors. Among the directors making an exit are Rajeev Misra, who is head of the Vision Fund, COO Marcelo Claure, and Katsunori Sago, the company’s chief strategy officer.

“More external directors mean better governance,” Son explained when announcing the shakeup. He went on to note, “The changes to our Board build upon the enhancements we made in June, including ensuring we have a greater proportion of External Board Directors, and further highlight SoftBank’s commitment to corporate governance.”

About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com

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