SoftBank’s Tab for Arora’s Two-Year Tenure Totals $300 Million

  • Nikesh Arora served as president before resigning in June
  • Arora was among world’s top-paid executives while at SoftBank

Nikesh Arora.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

The tally for Nikesh Arora’s two-year tenure at SoftBank Group Corp. is becoming clearer: 31.5 billion yen ($300 million) in compensation and related expenses.

The Japanese tech company booked 6.8 billion yen in expenses arising from Arora’s resignation last month, SoftBank said in a statement on Thursday. That’s on top of 24.6 billion yen he received in compensation over the previous two fiscal years. In addition, the company bought back 10.7 billion yen of its own shares from Arora, who served as SoftBank’s president and wasn’t its top executive.

Not only is the headline figure an unprecedented number in Japan, it’s also large compared to U.S. executive compensation packages. Marissa Mayer, the chief executive of Yahoo! Inc., was paid $109.6 million over the past three years, even as the company struggled before its main internet business was sold off. Arora’s compensation rivals those of Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Walt Disney Co.’s Bob Iger.

Arora left SoftBank after CEO Masayoshi Son, who had called him a likely successor earlier this year, decided to remain at the helm of the company he founded. At a news conference following SoftBank’s quarterly earnings report, Son defended Arora’s compensation, citing new investments led by his former deputy in India and China and his role in reorganizing the company’s asset portfolio.

“Look at the fundraising rounds that followed our investments, they are valued at a new level by outside parties,” Son said. “That’s an extremely high return on the scale of hundreds of billions of yen.”

Arora spearheaded investments in Indian e-commerce provider, ride-hailing service Ola Cabs, real-estate website and hotel-booking app Oyo Rooms. In October, SoftBank led a $1 billion fundraising round for U.S.-based online lender Social Finance Inc.

Son also pointed to Arora’s role in arranging the sale of SoftBank’s stakes in Supercell Oy and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Proceeds from those divestments made it possible for Son to embark on the largest bet of his career so far -- the $32 billion takeover of ARM Holdings Plc that was unveiled this month.

“Nikesh was in command of Supercell sales and liquidation of Alibaba stake,” Son said. “That contribution alone is more than enough.”

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