SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son Earnings News Conference

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son Promotes Former Google Exec

May 11, 2015 - Written By Cory McNutt

Sprint is getting a lot of news coverage this past year, but most of it is of the negative variety.  However, at this year’s latest earnings call, a few positive announcements were made – although they posted a loss, Sprint did add 1.2 million customers to keep them ahead of T-Mobile by about 300,000 subscribers – they enjoyed their best churn rate in over three years – their LTE network now covers about 87-percent of the US population –  and Son prompted former Google executive Nikesh Arora from CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media as his successor.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Son said, “I won’t be retiring yet, and Nikesh may pass away tomorrow in a car accident.  I can’t comment on when and in what form, but I’m certain that he is the primary candidate to succeed me.”

Last July, Arora announced he would be leaving Google after being with them for over a decade to work for SoftBank, where he was in charge of overseeing the company’s internet, telecommunications, media and global investment activities.  His appointment as Son’s successor indicates their continued interests in overseas growth.  Son added, “From now on, our focus will be set overseas, we will be a global SoftBank.  We expect more investments and acquisitions, even more so than now.  Going forward, the overseas market will be the main factor for SoftBank.”

The former CEO Don Hesse was a very conservative person, and his slowness and unwillingness to embrace change and move forward, prompted Sprint’s new majority owners, Japan’s SoftBank and Hesse to part ways.  SoftBank, known as an aggressive company and their CEO Masayoshi Son, equally aggressive, just did not see eye-to-eye with Hesse.  They quickly appointed their new CEO Marcelo Claure, also known for his own aggressive style and ‘get-it-done’ attitude.  Together, Son and Claure expected a quick turnaround for Sprint, as it continued to lose ground.  At the earnings call, Claure told CNBC, “We’re spending what is necessary.  We feel very good about the future of our network” and added that SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and SoftBank “are 100 percent behind the concept of densifying the network and as you’ve seen from our results, our network just keeps on getting better every day.”