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Nikesh Arora leaves Google to join Softbank; Airtel Connection?

Nikesh Arora

Nikhil adds: Perhaps it’s just a co-incidence, but there is an interesting Airtel connection to look at. Arora was on Airtel’s board from 2008 to March 2014. Of late, the Bharti group, the promoter group of Airtel, has begun doing quite a big of work with Softbank – they have a joint venture for apps called Bharti Softbank (BSB). Recently, Brightstar, of which Softbank is the largest shareholder, picked up a majority stake in Bharti owned Beetel.

Earlier: Google’s chief business officer Nikesh Arora is leaving after a 10-year stint with the company, Google has disclosed in its Q2 2014 earnings results.

Omid Kordestani who has previously worked as the senior advisor to the Office of the CEO and founders at Google, will be taking over Arora’s role for now. Note that Kordestani has previously worked as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales & field operations but he had stepped down from this position in 2009.

Arora will be joining Softbank as the CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media Inc (SIMI) and Vice President of Softbank Corporation. Softbank mentions that Arora will be working closely with the Softbank Chairman & CEO Masayoshi Son to define, implement and manage the company’s global growth strategy.

As the CEO of SIMI, he will be overseeing the company’s Internet, telecommunications, media and global investment activities. Son added that they also intend to nominate Arora to Softbank Corp board in their next shareholder meeting.

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Arora had joined Google in 2004 and has held several positions with the company over the years. He had previously led Google’s global direct sales operations. He also developed and managed the company’s operations in the European, Middle Eastern and African markets and was apparently responsible for creating and expanding strategic partnerships in those regions.

Before joining Google, he was the chief marketing officer of T-Mobile Europe and a member of its board. Prior to that, he had founded a mobile multimedia startup T-Motion PLC in 2000, which later merged with T-Mobile in 2002. He’s also worked as a telecom analyst at Putnam Investments and has held management positions in Fidelity Investments.

Arora was also part of the board of India’s largest telco Bharti Airtel, however he had stepped down from this position in March this year.

Earlier in April, Google’s senior vice president for social and head of Google+ Vic Gundotra had also left after an eight year stint with Google, while Android VP Hugo Barra had left the company in August last year to join the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi which recently entered the Indian market.

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