Jack Ma of Alibaba Group will step down completely from SoftBank’s board in 25th June, this news comes on the heels of the company losing $18 billion.
According to a CNBC report, China’s richest man has announced stepping down from his role as board executive at SoftBank. The process will be complete by the last week of June 2020. In a posting last week, the company’s Vision Fund had lost $18 billion while the group lost $13 billion.
It is not clear if Ma’s resignation is a result of this record loss or his own personal goals. In September 2019, he had resigned as chairman of Alibaba Group which he cofounded. There are also speculations that he may resign from the company’s board by the end of 2020. Many guess that this is to focus more on his recent philanthropic engagements.
If this is true, then Ma may be following in the footsteps of Microsoft’s Bill Gates who had resigned from the company’s board in March 2020. Gates had mentioned that his decision is so that he could have enough time to focus on philanthropy. But while Gates is 64 years old and approaching time to be thinking about Legacy, Ma is still 56, and could still have some more time on his hands.
However, life, as the pandemic has shown us, is unpredictable. Likely, Ma would be more focused on the education sector for his philanthropy as he was a former English teacher.
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SoftBank’s woes have increased since its founder, Masayoshi Son, launched the $100 billion Vision Fund in 2017. Since then, CNBC says it has funded 88 startups with $75 billion. The coronavirus however dealt severely with many of its major investments.
For example, it had invested $9 billion in WeWork; a company that offers flexible workspaces and work-related services. Things have not turned out well for the company as the pandemic meant that workplaces remain empty and people continue to work remotely.
Also, it had invested in Uber and Oyo; which is an Indian hotel chain. Needless to say, the coronavirus ensured that these businesses suffer the heaviest at its peak.
Jack Ma’s resignation from SoftBank’s board may have nothing to do with the losses as major investors expect these kinds of losses. Yet, it is worth putting into perspective.
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