Claure out, Combes in as SoftBank shakes up leadership
Softbank Group has a new leadership line-up and speculation is mounting that further appointments – and departures – could be confirmed in the coming weeks.
At the end of last week the Japanese operator and investor confirmed its COO, Marcelo Claure, had left and that Michel Combes had been appointed CEO, Softbank Group. Combes, like Claure, is the former CEO of Sprint and has also held CEO roles for Altice, Alcatel-Lucent and Vodafone Europe.
Media commentary since the announcement speculated that further resignations could be confirmed over the coming days and weeks, although Softbank has yet to confirm.
Commenting on his departure Claure said: “I will forever be grateful for my experience at SoftBank over the last nine years. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the world’s great executives and entrepreneurs, and tackle several immense professional challenges, which makes the success we achieved together that much more rewarding.
"Beyond the value we have created for SoftBank stockholders, we have invested in some of the most innovative and disruptive companies that will be industry leaders for decades to come. I am particularly grateful to Masayoshi Son, who gave me the opportunity to thrive at SoftBank and served as a mentor and friend during my tenure,” he continued.
Praising Claure's leadership, Softbank said he "helped lead highly consequential projects over the last several years", citing his time at Sprint – which saw it merge with T-Mobile – the repositioning of WeWork, the launch of Latin America’s largest venture capital fund, and the launch of the SB Opportunity Fund to invest in underrepresented racial minorities.
The news broke almost a year to the day since Masayoshi Son confirmed he would step down from leadership – effective April last year – to be replaced by the group’s CTO, Junichi Miyakawa. Son now holds the title of representative director, corporate officer, chairman and CEO of the group.
Son said of the latest developments: “Marcelo has made many contributions to SoftBank during his time here and we thank him for his dedication and wish him continued success in his future endeavours. I have great confidence in Michel Combes and the talented SoftBank team to continue with the great work we have underway at SBGI.”
As the new group CEO, Combes will oversee SoftBank Group International’s operating and investment portfolio, which includes SoftBank Latin America Funds and the SB Opportunity Fund.
He said: “I am extremely grateful to Masayoshi Son for this opportunity and to Marcelo for his friendship and partnership.”
Combes joined Softbank in April 2020 and serves of several BoDs across the portfolio, including those of WeWork Inc., OneWeb, SoFi Technologies, Inc, Contentsquare, Jellysmack and Swile. He is also on the BoD for Etisalat Group and global cigarette and tobacco manufacturer, Philip Morris International.