SoftBank says his Lieutenant Fisher, CEO of Arm, to step down from board

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) -SoftBank Group Corp announced on Friday that long-time CEO Masayoshi Son lieutenant Ron Fisher and chip designer Arm CEO Simon Segars will step down from the Japanese conglomerate’s board.

The changes are the latest churn from the board, as Son focuses on investing in technology through its Vision Fund division rather than taking majority stakes in companies.

Fisher was the architect of SoftBank’s disastrous bet on office company WeWork, while Segars’ company is to be sold to U.S. chip company Nvidia Corp pending regulatory approval.

Fisher’s decision to quit was his own, a SoftBank spokeswoman said without providing further details.

SoftBank has appointed Koei Tecmo Holdings Co Ltd game company chairman Keiko Erikawa and Z Holdings Corp group internet business co-CEO Kentaro Kawabe to join the board.

The group also appointed Ken Siegel, managing partner in the Tokyo office of law firm Morrison & Foerster, who has worked on deals such as the sale of Arms and the sale of US robotics company Boston Dynamics to Hyundai Motor. Co. of South Korea.

The nominations will be put to a shareholder vote at the conglomerate’s annual general meeting next month.

Waseda University business professor Yuko Kawamoto is due to step down from the board after just one year to join a government agency.

“I think it’s rare for a CEO to listen to others so carefully,” Kawamoto said in a statement, adding that “it would be nice if the ‘duty of dissent’ or not to be d ‘agreement if necessary, was more prevalent in the SBG. “

“The group’s biggest challenge going forward is crafting a succession plan,” said Kawamoto, noting the recent announcement from the 57-year-old successor to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Inc.

Son, 63, has yet to establish such a plan at SoftBank, which earlier this month posted a record annual profit from its Vision Fund share on valuation gains.

The changes to the board keep its membership at nine with Koei’s Erikawa being its only female member.

SoftBank reduced the number of board members from 12 to amplify the voice of outside directors following pressure from investors for greater oversight of the group.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Christopher Cushing)

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