SoftBank, the Japanese telecom giant that is also one of Asia’s most prolific startup investors, has named Google’s former chief business officer, Nikesh Arora, as its new president and potential future chief executive officer.
Arora joined the company as vice chairman of SoftBank Corp. and CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media (now called SB Group US) in September 2014.
During a press conference, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said that he views Arora as a strong potential successor—but that a leadership change won’t take place in the near future.
“He’s 10 years younger than me, and he has more abilities than me,” Son said. “The last nine months I’ve spent with him have made me sure of that, but I’m not going to retire soon.”
Arora joined SoftBank last year to help the company, which owns Sprint, expand its business operations.
He oversees its international investments and played an instrumental role in SoftBank’s recent $100 million investment in events analysis company Banjo, one of its largest investments in a U.S. startup so far.
While at Google, Arora was in charge of revenue and customer operations, as well as marketing and partnerships. Before that, he was chief marketing officer and a board member at T-Mobile Europe–experience that may come in handy as SoftBank tries to reverse Sprint’s decline.
His new appointment, which will be effective June 19, is part of SoftBank’s effort to transform itself from a Japanese company to “a global business which will strive to create sustainable growth for the very long-term,” the company said in a statement.
SoftBank also said it will change its name to SoftBank Group Corp to reflects its position as a holding company with international investments and consolidate all company assets, including SoftBank Mobile Corp. and investments in Yahoo Japan Corporation and Alibaba Group, under the name SBG.