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Softbank’s Masayoshi Son Steps Down from Alibaba Group’s Board

On Thursday, at the end of Softbank’s general shareholder’s meeting, Masayoshi Son, chief executive of Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. announced that he would be stepping down from the board of Alibaba Group, a well-known Chinese e-commerce giant.

Masayoshi Son announced this new change while also emphasizing that this was a “happy” decision and is in no way a representation of any disagreement or bad blood between the two companies.

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Last month, John Ma announced his departure from Softbank’s board.

The two companies have had a good business relationship for the last 20 years.

Softbank is a major investor in Alibaba and has helped to its current value of $600 billion, Masayoshi Son joined Alibaba’s board back in 2005 while John Ma joined Softbank’s board in 2007. Masayoshi was on Alibaba’s board when the company went public in 2014.

Softbank’s shareholders approved the lineup of board members minus John Ma with a majority vote. Softbank earlier announced three new additions to the board, two of which included SoftBank’s Chief Financial Officer Yoshimitsu Goto and Waseda University professor Yuko Kawamoto.

Lip-Bu Tan, founder of venture capital firm Walden International who is also the founder of Cadence Design is the third new member.

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In the recent past, many of Softbank’s investments have met criticism because of their high risk, WeWork being one of them, but Masayoshi Son defends this claiming that all of these investments will deliver long-term results.

Since starting Softbank in the 1980s, Masayoshi Son has chosen to invest in several companies, including Yahoo! And British semiconductor company Arm.

These mutual departures signify the end of an era in many ways, until now, both the companies and entrepreneurs were known to rely on each other’s business acumen.

Alibaba remains Masayoshi Son’s most successful investment so far and a valuable asset for Softbank.

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