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SoftBank elevates Vision Fund chief Misra; will he succeed Masayoshi Son?
SoftBank Corp. Chief Executive Masayoshi Son speaks during a news conference, in front of a screen showing a picture of Rajeev Misra | Photo Credit: Reuters

Yet another India-born executive could soon find himself at the helm of a multi-billion-dollar global corporate.

Rajeev Misra, who heads the $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund, may well be in line to succeed SoftBank Group Corp founder and CEO Masayoshi Son.

Misra is one of three executives who have been elevated to the rank of executive vice-president at the Japanese tech investor--the other two being Marcelo Claure and Katsunori Sago. So, in theory at least, any of the three could succeed the 60-year-old Son, when he does call it a day.

However, in June last year, Son had said that he was not stepping down anytime soon, and would spend the next decade identifying a successor.

“I feel energized. I couldn’t possibly retire,” he had said. “Over the next 10 years, that’s the challenge I should keep addressing,” he said, adding that a successor would most likely come from the company’s management ranks.

Misra is an IIT Delhi graduate who went on to study at the University of Pennsylvania and the MIT Sloan School of Management. He headed strategic finance at SoftBank, before being annointed the head of the Vision Fund in October 2016.

The Vision Fund is the world's biggest private equity fund. Last year, it invested in Indian online retailer Flipkart and hotel rooms aggregator Oyo. It is now selling its stake in Flipkart to US-based Walmart Inc. in its first known exit. Globally, the Vision Fund has invested in ride-hailing giant Uber, and chip makers ARM Holdings and Nvidia.

Misra is a former debt trading veteran. He has, in the past, worked with Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Swiss financial company UBS AG. He had joined SoftBank in 2014, after leaving global investment management firm Fortress Investments Group LLC, where he had worked for less than a year.

Misra’s elevation to head the London-based SoftBank Vision Fund had come less than four months after India-born Nikesh Arora resigned as SoftBank’s president and chief operating officer following accusations by a group of anonymous shareholders that he had led SoftBank into making poor investment decisions as well as of conflict of interest.

Arora had quit despite an internal probe clearing him of any wrongdoing. His departure was significant as he was next in line to succeed Son.

In March, SoftBank said it was probing whether the shareholder allegations against Arora and chief strategy officer Alok Sama, also an India-born executive, were an internal hit job.

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