- Kristopher Fraser
Uniqlo founder Tadashi Yanai has resigned from the board of SoftBank.
SoftBank says that Yanai’s decision to step down from the board is so he
can focus on his fashion business.
Yanai was one of the only three external members of the board which was
dominated by SoftBank executives and heads of its portfolio companies.
Yanai’s resignation comes fresh off the heels of SoftBank’s failed attempt
at getting WeWork’s IPO off the ground, with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son
saying that he misjudged former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann’s character.
The lack of independent voices of SoftBank’s board and those not willing to
criticize Son are seen as a hindrance for the company. Yanai was one of the
few voices known for dissenting with Son. SoftBank saw its first loss in 14
years this year, with the blame being put on the WeWork deal and Son’s
Yanai is expected to have a successor on the board, but one has not been
named. The two other independent directors on SoftBank’s board are Masami
Iijima, chairman of trading house Mitsui & Co, and professor Yutaka Matsuo
from the University of Tokyo, an artificial intelligence expert.