SoftBank Board Finds No Merit to Investor Criticism of Company President

  • Special Committee conducted investigation with outside counsel
  • Investor letter had questioned Arora’s qualifications

SoftBank Group Corp.’s board of directors completed a review of shareholder allegations about President Nikesh Arora and concluded the claims are without merit.

The board’s special committee investigated the allegations raised in a number of letters with the assistance of counsel at Shearman & Sterling LLP and Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, the company said Monday in a statement. SoftBank said the letters came from a law firm “which claimed to represent the interests of certain unidentified SBG and Sprint Corp. shareholders.”

The investor group had called on the board to investigate and possibly dismiss Arora in a sharply critical, 11-page letter that questioned his track record and qualifications. The critique asked whether Arora has conflicts of interest at SoftBank because of his role as a senior adviser to the private equity firm Silver Lake. A separate letter to the board of Sprint, which SoftBank controls, asked for his removal as a director there for similar reasons.

“The Special Committee has concluded that the claims concerning the conduct of Mr. Arora during his tenure at SBG are without merit,” the company said in the statement.

Billionaire Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp., right, shakes hands with Nikesh Arora, president and chief operating officer of SoftBank Group Corp.
Billionaire Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp., right, shakes hands with Nikesh Arora, president and chief operating officer of SoftBank Group Corp.
Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

SoftBank defended Arora when the letter was originally made public in April. Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son said that he had “one thousand percent confidence” in Arora.

The founder issued an additional statement after the committee’s finding: "As I said when these allegations first became public, I have complete trust in Nikesh and I am pleased the special committee has looked into these claims thoroughly and concluded they are without merit."

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