The Son also sets as SoftBank appoints new leadership

The Son also sets as SoftBank appoints new leadership

26 January 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Masayoshi Son is stepping down from leadership of SoftBank on 1 April, to be replaced by the group’s CTO, Junichi Miyakawa.

Son has been chairman of the group but will simply be “board director, founder” after the handover. The current president and CEO, Ken Miyauchi, will move up to the chairman’s role.

SoftBank said that, under the new leadership, it “will further promote its ‘Beyond Carrier’ strategy while advancing toward its second growth phase, making full use of cutting-edge technologies such as AI and 5G together with its group companies while striving to achieve sustainable growth of the telecommunications business”.

Miyakawa (pictured), 55 and son of a Buddhist priest, has been a telecoms technologist for many years, starting and running his own company before joining the SoftBank group. In 2006 he became CTO of Vodafone Japan, in which SoftBank was a shareholder.

He has US experience from his time at Sprint, when SoftBank was the controlling shareholder. He became Sprint’s head of network operations in 2013, with then CTO Stephen Bye and chief network officer John Saw reporting in to him.

There, said SoftBank today, he “contributed greatly to the dramatic improvement of its telecommunications network and the reconstruction of its business”. Sprint last year merged with T-Mobile US, owned by Deutsche Telekom. 

SoftBank’s nominating committee said it “highly evaluates Junichi Miyakawa’s deep knowledge of AI, 5G, IoT, and other cutting-edge technologies, as well as his business management capabilities”.

The company that he has also been operating group businesses as president and CEO of Monet Technologies, a joint venture with Toyota, and HAPSMobile, a subsidiary planning to provide next-generation networks from the stratosphere.

It added that he “has accumulated management experience while deepening his understanding of business strategies and finance”.

The management changes are timed to come into place immediately after March, when SoftBank will integrate the former Yahoo Japan — now Z Holdings — with its Line.

It said: “This merger is expected to transform the group into a corporate group without global precedent that has a broad range of business domains — telecommunications, e-commerce, internet media, fintech, and social media — with established business foundations that will enable a new stage of growth.”