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The first female SoftBank director to quit after provoking her son

(Bloomberg) – SoftBank Group Corp. director Yuko Kawamoto plans to step down from the company’s board in June, removing an outspoken member who clashed with controversial founder Masayoshi Son over governance issues. on June 23, after only a year in that role, SoftBank said in a statement Friday. She was the first woman to sit on the board and its only female member, although another was appointed. In an unusual gesture, Kawamoto wrote a lengthy post about his time with SoftBank, posted on the company’s website. While praising Son for her decision-making, speed and willingness to change her mind, she also said the company needs more internal controls, better governance and more people who can handle it. head to Son. Masa to fully demonstrate her talents, which can then be incorporated into shareholder value, ”she writes. “It does not imply any restrictions or constraints, but rather a supervisory function that allows the organization to reach its full potential.” SoftBank’s biggest challenge is coming up with a succession plan for its founder, Kawamoto said. She said she was resigning after a year due to her appointment as commissioner of the National Personnel Authority. Son’s longtime lieutenant Ronald Fisher and Arm Ltd. Simon Segars also left the board. in June. Kentaro Kawabe, co-CEO of Z Holdings Corp., Keiko Erikawa, chairman of Koei Tecmo Holdings Co. in his most independent voices in recent years, the kind of directors who could push back Son’s decisions. Shigenobu Nagamori, the outspoken founder of automaker Nidec Corp., resigned in 2017. Tadashi Yanai, CEO of Fast Retailing Co., who had been on the board since 2001 and was a rare voice of dissent, left in late 2019. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder Jack Ma left last June after 13 years of work. SoftBank has been rocked by a series of missteps over the past year, including a botched investment in WeWork. and a risky foray into derivatives trading. Kawamoto reported that SoftBank often runs so fast to execute Son’s ideas that the infrastructure is not always in place to handle them. “Sometimes, therefore, the rules come after decisions are made, and some might say that the company has some weakness in this regard. One area in which Kawamoto had a particularly clear disagreement with Son was his personal stake in a subsidiary overseeing SoftBank’s controversial options trading program, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named as the details are private. . His opposition surprised Son and the clashes often left him infuriated, one of the people said. Son’s 33% personal stake in the entity known as SB Northstar has also drawn fire from investors who described the structure as a corporate governance problem. . In a call with investors and analysts after the results were announced in November, Son denied the existence of a conflict of interest and described it as compensation for his investment expertise. Other fund managers charge fees, he said. Son added that SoftBank’s board cleared the structure in a vote he recused himself from. Son’s personal stake in SoftBank trading unit fires fire “The fact that SoftBank released this is quite revealing,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners in Singapore, referring to the letter. by Kawamoto. “It’s not exactly a dictatorship operating there.” Still, Kawamoto complimented Son and said the company was improving. “Partly because I have remained vocal at board meetings over the past year, I believe an atmosphere has been fostered where discussions can be held more. Frankly,” Kawamoto said. “Masa is an extremely exciting person who often lights up the minds of those around him, in fact it is his inspiration that gave me the courage to take on a new challenge and accept a difficult role in the service of the country. (Updates with details of Kawamoto’s conflict with Son in 10th paragraph) More stories like this are available at Subscribe Now to stay ahead with the most trusted source of business news. © 2021 Bloomberg LP



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