Google chief business officer leaves to join SoftBank

18 July 2014 | Kavit Majithia


Google’s chief business officer Nikesh Arora has become the latest high-profile executive to leave the internet company and will join Japanese operator SoftBank as vice-chairman.

Arora, who was a key member of CEO Larry Page’s team and the company’s main liaison in Wall Street, is the fourth major executive to leave the company in the last year.

For SoftBank, recruiting Arora represents a coup for the Japanese telecoms group, and could be an indicator into the thinking of the company’s CEO Masayoshi Son.
 
Son is targeting rapid growth in the sector and will no doubt utilise Arora’s decade-long experience at the world’s largest internet company to expand SoftBank’s interests into new fields.
 
SoftBank’s chief is renowned for making risky moves and using the company’s scale to undercut rivals through competitive pricing models.
 
Last year, SoftBank overtook rival NTT DoCoMo to become Japan’s most profitable mobile provider, and it has expanded internationally through the acquisition of Sprint in the US last year.
 
Arora joins the company in a newly created position, and will also serve as chief executive of SoftBank Internet and Media (SIMI), a power centre that is designed to expand SoftBank and Sprint’s reach into a modern digital age.
 
“As we enter the next phase of our expansion I can’t think of a better person than Nikesh (Arora) to help us chart that course,” said Son. “(At SIMI) Arora will be directly responsible for overseeing our internet, telecommunications, media and global investment activities.”
 
Prior to his role at Google, Arora headed up T-Mobile’s European operations. SoftBank has been actively pursuing T-Mobile US in a bid to beef up its operations in the US and compete more effectively with AT&T and Verizon.