New CEO of SoftBank Group International quits just five months after appointment

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If SoftBank investors have already been appalled by the conglomerate’s poor performance this year, news release being out of company tonight won’t exactly assuage their fears.

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Big news? French businessman Michel Combes, who was named CEO of SoftBank Group International in January after longtime SoftBank lieutenant Marcelo Clair left the company during pay the disputenow also leaving the company.

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Combs was already monitoring Claire’s actions. Claire was previously the CEO of SoftBank-controlled Sprint from 2014 to 2018, after which Combs served as CEO until the spring of 2020, when, much to SoftBank’s relief, Sprint’s merger with T-Mobile received regulatory approval. (SoftBank took control of Sprint back in 2012 in hopes of changing the company. Meanwhile, Combs had previously served as CEO of Vodafone Europe, Alcatel-Lucent and Altice, so seemed a good fit for the role. .)

Whether deserved or not, Combs also credits WeWork’s move to a public company. Last failurewhen WeWork merged with a shell company. (Clora famously became the office-sharing company’s executive chairman in the fall of 2019 when SoftBank, a major investor in the business, bailed her out after plans for a traditional IPO collapsed.)

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Indeed, in that edition of SoftBank’s leadership transition, Combs appears to be gearing up for his next role, celebrating numerous accomplishments.

“It has been a pleasure working with Masa and the talented teams at SoftBank,” he said in a statement. “I am leaving SoftBank proud to have achieved what I set out to do here, including transforming Sprint and merging it with T-Mobile, repositioning WeWork and successfully going public, and most recently integrating SoftBank Latin America. Funding for the Vision Fund, and overseeing SoftBank’s strategic investments in French and European portfolio companies.”

Meanwhile, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said, “I want to thank Michel for his decisive contributions to SoftBank over the past five years. He has played a pivotal role in some of our most important investments and assets and I wish him all the best in his future plans. I am delighted that he will remain part of the SoftBank family by continuing to represent us on the boards of various portfolio companies.”

As to why Combs is leaving so abruptly, the release contains nothing other than that he “decided to leave SoftBank in order to pursue new opportunities.”

While Combs is being replaced by yet another SoftBank executive — Alex Clavel, a managing partner at SoftBank Group International who joined the firm almost seven years ago — the move will no doubt undermine SoftBank’s claim that it is getting its business back on track after a setback. . external forces, from Chinese repression to higher interest rates and Russia’s war with Ukraine.

His departure marks only one thing: a growing number of SoftBank employees are leaving the company, including Claire, as well as seven managing partners last year, including the most senior managing partner, Deep Nishara, who joined General Catalyst as a managing director.

More people quit in 2022, including Ronald Fisher, 1st Lieutenant Sona (he joined SoftBank in 1995) and two of the three managing partners of SoftBank’s Latin American fund, who announced in the spring that they were spinning their own venture business.

SoftBank appears poised for further cuts.

In the first half of last month, the company said that lost more money in the last fiscal year more than ever — $13.2 billion — and that he will slow down the pace of new investment. Since then, the market has only declined, putting more pressure on many of the firm’s investments.

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