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SoftBank Group appoints Nikesh Arora as COO and president

Nikesh AroraSoftBank Group has named Nikesh Arora as its new chief operating officer and president as part of a major restructuring at the Japanese telecom and Internet conglomerate. TechCircle reports that Arora is one of the four non-Japanese members in the 14-member board of SoftBank.

Prior to SoftBank, Arora served as senior vice president and chief business officer of Google. He was also senior advisor of value creation at Silver Lake Partners and also served as chief marketing officer and a member of the management board of T-Mobile International AG & Co. In the past, he had also worked at Deutsche Telekom AG, Putnam Investments, Fidelity Investments, Colgate-Palmolive Co. Arora had also founded T-Motion Plc, a mobile multimedia subsidiary of T-Mobile International. He had also served as a non-executive director of India telecom major Bharti Airtel from 2008 to 2014.

Earlier in October 2014, SoftBank had said that it has committed to invest $10 billion in the IT and communications segment in India. Arora joined SoftBank in 2014 as vice chairman and as CEO of SoftBank Internet & Media Inc (SIMI) and led several marquee investments in India which includes Snapdeal with $627 million, a $210 million investment round in cabs aggregator Ola and a $90 million funding round in property search startup Housing.com. Arora recently resigned as a nominee director of the three Indian firms and it seemed that this was a precursor to his new appointment and TechCircle adds that this will push him from the direct responsibility of SIMI.

SoftBank’s investments in India

SofBank had entered into a joint venture with the Hollywood production house and media company Legendary Entertainment, to offer premium content on its mobile platforms, with a focus on India and China markets.

It had also formed a mobile internet joint venture with Bharti Enterprises that runs Airtel called Bharti Softbank (BSB) in October 2011. This venture currently operates three mobile ventures including mobile messaging app Hike, mobile gaming venture Tiny Mogul Games and location-based deals service Hoppr.

Brightstar, of which Softbank is the largest shareholder, had also picked up a majority stake in Bharti owned Beetel in July this year. Brightstar had mentioned that this acquisition will enable them to distribute mobile devices and accessories from popular manufacturers through Beetel’s distribution channels in the country.

Back in September 2011, SoftBank had also invested $200 million into the mobile ad network InMobi, which was the largest investment raised by an Internet company in India until Flipkart raised $360 million investment in October last year and followed it up with a$1 billion investment in July this year.

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