SoftBank announced on Monday that Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma would step down as a board director on June 25 after 13 years of service in a move to focus on philanthropic activity. The news comes on the heels of Ma’s resignation as Alibaba’s chairman in September last year.
The Japanese conglomerate will move forward with its remaining 10 board members, with plans to nominate 3 new directors, including Softbank CFO Yoshimitsu Goto, Cadence Design Systems CEO Lip-Bu Tan, and Waseda Business School Professor Yuko Kawamoto.
Jack Ma is the third of Softbank’s board to resign in recent years, with Tadashi Yanai, founder of Uniqlo parent company Fast Retailing Co., leaving the board at the end of 2019 and CEO of Nidec Corp. Shigenobu Nagamori stepping down in September 2017.
SoftBank also revealed a share buyback plan of up to JPY 2 trillion (USD 18 billion) on top of a JPY 500 billion (USD 4.5 billion) repurchase program announced earlier this month, which will be funded by the JPY 4.5 trillion (USD 41 billion) asset sale program that was proposed in March.
“This program will be the largest share buyback and will result in the largest increase in cash balance in the history of SBG, reflecting the firm and unwavering confidence we have in our business,” said Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of Softbank. “This will allow us to strengthen our balance sheet while significantly reducing debt. Moreover, the monetisation of assets represents less than 20 per cent of the Company’s current asset value.”
Softbank also announced a record loss of JPY 1.9 trillion (USD 18 billion) at its giant Vision Fund, resulting in SoftBank’s worst annual loss of JPY 1.4 trillion (USD 13 billion).
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