Home / Companies / News /  SoftBank's Rajeev Misra steps back from executive role to launch new fund
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In what is being seen as a major rejig at the SoftBank Group Corp, Rajeev Misra is stepping back from his main roles at the Japanese conglomerate, according to a communication sent by SoftBank’s founder Masayoshi Son.

This marks the exit of one of the key architects of the Japanese conglomerate’s sometimes chaotic evolution into the world’s largest technology investor. 

A key lieutenant of the SoftBank founder, Misra will retain a senior position with the group’s first $100 billion Vision Fund, but relinquish other roles, reported Bloomberg.

Misra will move from CEO of SoftBank Global Advisers, which manages the second fund, to vice chairman while SoftBank's founder and CEO, Masayoshi Son, will take a more direct leadership role, an internal memo said.

Misra, who has led the Vision Fund since 2017 when it raised $100 billion, the largest pool of private capital, is expected to launch a new asset management platform backed by Middle Eastern funds.

Misra recently held talks with Son in Tokyo, during which he told his boss of his plans to leave to pursue his own venture, the report added. 

He’s already secured over $6 billion in backing, including from Middle East investors, for a new fund that’ll target a mix of strategies. Akshay Naheta, a former colleague of Misra, is reportedly set to join the venture.

Reports stated that deliberations are ongoing and no final decisions on the fund’s size or the timing of its launch have been made. Plans could also still falter. 

Misra’s decision to step back at SoftBank will complete a hollowing out of the conglomerate’s most senior investing ranks, which had been bolstered over the years by a raft of hires from bulge-bracket banks. 

The 60-year-old former Deutsche Bank AG made the Vision Fund one of the biggest champions of high-flying Silicon Valley startups before public stumbles and internal strife dimmed its star. The fund’s attempts to regain its footing have been hampered by a drop in tech valuations, which resulted in a record loss for SoftBank in the quarter ended in March. 

After joining Deutsche Bank in 1997, Misra rose through the ranks to become a key deputy to then CEO Anshu Jain. After short spells at UBS Group AG and Fortress Investment Group, Misra landed at SoftBank in 2014. He’d already built a relationship with Son by helping him to finance difficult deals. 

The original Vision Fund would gather almost $100 billion, including $45 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, as well as capital from Apple Inc., the government of Abu Dhabi and others. Under the aegis of Misra and other former Deutsche Bank executives, Vision Fund helped start the trend of investing massive amounts in startups -- which caused valuations to soar.

In its first year of investing, Vision Fund committed $65 billion to acquire big stakes in the likes of Uber Technologies Inc., WeWork, and Slack Technologies Inc. 

But bets began to sour. SoftBank’s investment in WeWork collapsed, eventually leading the investor to bail out the remote working startup. A complex side-deal with Wirecard AG, which netted SoftBank executives a significant profit, led to criticism after the German payments firm also failed. 

While deploying a wave of capital at startups, Misra also clashed with senior rivals including former chief operating officer Marcelo Claure and president Nikesh Arora, ultimately outlasting them both.

With agency inputs

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