Jack Ma quits SoftBank board

Alibaba Group co-founder, Jack Ma, has resigned his membership on the board of Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. His departure is a huge blow to Masayoshi Son, the founder of the Japanese telecom and technology group.

According to Reuters, SoftBank will propose three new appointments to the board, including group Chief Financial Officer Yoshimoto Goto, at its annual general meeting on June 25. The number of board members will expand to 13.

SoftBank will also propose the election of Lip-Bu Tan, CEO of chip design software firm Cadence Design Systems who is also chairman of venture capital firm Walden International, and Yuko Kawamoto, a professor at Waseda Business School as outside directors. Kawamoto will become its only female board member.

That meets a demand from activist investor Elliott Management, which has pressed SoftBank to improve board diversity, and also wants a new subcommittee to oversee the investment process at the $100 billion Vision Fund.

Jack Ma’s exit brings to question the strength of SoftBank’s board given the recent losses the group ramped up from its investment in co-working space provider, WeWork.


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