Masayoshi Son’s grand vision for SoftBank Group Corp has been dealt a setback by an internal power struggle between two of his closest lieutenants.
Marcelo Claure was named chief operating officer in May with the goal of improving operations across SoftBank portfolio companies and getting startups such as Uber Technologies Inc and WeWork Cos Inc to work together.
Yet he clashed from the start with Rajeev Misra, who oversees SoftBank’s $100bn Vision Fund and many of Son’s most important investments, according to people familiar with the matter.
After months of disagreements, Misra won an important dispute.
The staff Claure has been hiring to improve operations were shifted over to work for Misra at the Vision Fund instead, said the people, asking not to be named because the matter is private.
The employees, numbering about 40, were notified by e-mail on February 1, including some who were hired so recently they hadn’t even started work yet.
The push for synergies at the Vision Fund will happen under Misra’s watch, not Claure’s. The COO now has a reduced mandate. His portfolio will include WeWork, chip-design firm ARM Holdings Plc and asset-manager Fortress Investment Group LLC, according to the e-mail. He will mainly focus on a Latin America investment fund that SoftBank plans to create.
Less than two months after moving to Tokyo with his family, he is considering moving back to Miami. Claure and Misra, in a joint interview, downplayed any conflict and said they are working together effectively.—Bloomberg