SoftBank Group (SBG) Corp. on Monday announced that a special committee of independent members of its Board of Directors had completed its review of allegations levelled against the group's President and COO, Nikesh Arora, in a purported shareholder demand. The committee had reached a decision and concluded that the claims concerning Nikesh's conduct during his tenure at SBG don't carry merit.
The allegations had been raised in a number of letters from a law firm that claimed to represent the interests of certain unidentified SBG and Sprint Corporation shareholders. In April, it came to light that some investors had submitted a sharply critical, 11-page letter to the Softbank Board to investigate and possibly dismiss Nikesh, alleging three broad areas of concern -
a) Conflict of interest through involvement with Silver Lake
b) Poor performance in making investments
c) Excessive compensation without sufficient disclosure
At this stage, SoftBank had stood firmly behind Nikesh and had responded to each of the three accusations as follows-
a) No conflict of interest as there was minimal involvement with Silver Lake
b) Some failures to be expected because of high risk in backing startups
c) Nikesh's compensation were reasonable for skills and experience considering his past record and unvested stock options he had given up at Google.
SoftBank Founder and CEO Masayoshi Son had said in a statement to Bloomberg,
I have complete trust in Nikesh and 1,000 percent confidence in him and know he will continue to do great things for SoftBank in the future.
The company has recently faced heat, as its Sprint Corp acquisition went from bad to worse and some of its bets in India too hadn't taken off as expected. This month, SoftBank had announced its plans to sell $7.9 billion in Alibaba stock to decrease debt and increase its ‘liquidity cushion’. It would be worth while to see how SoftBank deploys its funds and also protects itself from internal and external deterrents.