If SoftBank’s investors were already shaken by the conglomerate’s poor performance this year, news release leaving the company tonight will not allay their worries.
The big news? French businessman Michel Combe, who was appointed CEO of SoftBank Group International in January after longtime SoftBank lieutenant Marcelo Chlor left the company after payment disputenow he is also leaving the company.
Combs has followed Chlora’s moves before. Claure was previously CEO of Sprint, controlled by SoftBank from 2014 to 2018, after which Combes took over as CEO until the spring of 2020, when, to SoftBank’s great relief, Sprint merged with T-Mobile received regulatory approval. (SoftBank took control of the slimming Sprint back in 2012, hoping to turn the company around. Combes, meanwhile, had previously taken over as CEO of Vodafone Europe, Alcatel-Lucent and Altice, so he seemed fit for the role.)
Whether preserved or not, Combes also takes some credit for WeWork’s transition to a public company last fallwhen WeWork merged with a blank check company. (Chlor became known as the executive chairman of the shared office space company in the fall of 2019, when SoftBank, a major investor in the business, gave him a financial lifeline after plans for a traditional IPO collapsed.)
Indeed, in this issue of SoftBank’s change of leadership, Combs seems to be preparing for his next role, noting his many accomplishments.
“It was a pleasure working with Massa and the talented teams at SoftBank,” the statement said. I am leaving SoftBank, proud to have achieved what I set out to do here, including turning Sprint over and merging it with T-Mobile, repositioning WeWork and making it public, and soon the integration of SoftBank in Latin America Vision Fund, as well as overseeing SoftBank’s strategic investments in French and European portfolio companies.
Meanwhile, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son was quoted as saying: “I want to thank Michelle for her decisive contribution to SoftBank over the past five years. He has played a critical role in some of our most important investments and assets and I wish him all the best with his future plans. I am glad that he will remain part of the SoftBank family, continuing to represent us on various boards of portfolio companies.
As for why Combes would leave so suddenly, the publication offers nothing but that it “decided to leave SoftBank in pursuit of new opportunities.”
While Combes has been replaced by another SoftBank CEO, Alex Clavel, a managing partner at SoftBank Group International, who joined the company almost seven years ago, the move is sure to undermine SoftBank’s account of regaining business after a bruise. external forces, from China’s repression to rising interest rates to Russia’s war against Ukraine.
His departure marks only a growing number of SoftBank employees leaving the company, including Chlor, but also seven managing partners last year, including the senior managing partner, Deep Nishar, who joined General Catalyst as managing director.
More people left in 2022, including Ronald Fisher, Sina’s longest-serving lieutenant (he joined SoftBank in 1995) and two of SoftBank’s three managing partners in Latin America, who announced in the spring that they would expand their own risky business.
SoftBank seems ready to shrink even more.
In the first half of last month, the company said so lost more money in its last fiscal year more than ever – $ 13.2 billion – and that it will slow down its new investment. Since then, the market has fallen only lower, putting more pressure on the company’s many investments.