SoftBank investigates shareholder campaign to oust executive

MarketsAssociated Press

SoftBank said Wednesday that it is investigating a shareholder campaign that sought the ouster of former Google executive Nikesh Arora, who had been groomed to lead the Japanese technology company.

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Arora, who joined SoftBank as president from Google in 2014, had been expected to succeed Son as head of the company. But in 2016, SoftBank founder and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said Arora was leaving. Son remained at the helm.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that some shareholders had conducted a smear campaign to discredit and oust Arora.

"A special committee of the SoftBank Group Board of Directors is investigating these matters. The special committee has reached no conclusions in its investigation and does not intend to comment further until the completion of its investigation," the Tokyo-based company said.

In 2016, SoftBank said an investigation at that time into allegations against Arora that were raised in letters from a law firm claiming to represent shareholders found no wrongdoing.

Arora had led Softbank's growing investments in Asia, especially in India, during his time at the company.

When Son announced Arora's departure, he said he had decided to stay on at the top at least for another decade.