Softbank succession plan: Rajeev Misra seen taking over from Masayoshi Son

Rajeev Misra
Industry analysts are seeing the Rajeev Misra’s elevation from Vision Fund chief executive officer to executive vice president of the board of directors as yet another attempt to find a successor to SoftBank Group’s founder Masayoshi Son after he steps down. 

Though Son has given no indication that he might make way for someone else post his retirement, analysts believe that 56-year-old Misra who has more than three decades of experience of working in global tech firms is being prepared to fill in Son’s shoes.

Misra has worked in companies such as Deutsche Bank AG as the Managing Director, Global Co-Head of Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities UBS Group AG, Fortress Investment Group LLC as the Senior Managing Director and Partner and in 2014 joined SoftBank as Head of Strategic Finance for the Group.

Misra who is in-charge of SoftBank’s $100 billion fund has been involved in zeroing in potential companies which would not only give company big return on investment but also make it future ready. 

Misra, through the Vision Fund is trying to consolidate the world’s e-commerce and telecom business against titans such as Google and Amazon.

From e-commerce, ride-hailing, telecom, artificial intelligence, media, to solar power and even football, SoftBank is either making fresh investments or consolidating the investments it has already made in these areas. Recently, the group orchestrated the much-talked-about merger of ride-hailing biggie Grab with US cab aggregating giant Uber. After the takeover, the Silicon Valley-based company had to get out of Southeast Asia with a minority stake.

According to sources, SoftBank has a core team of 25-30 members helped by a battery of lawyers and big four consultants who look at mergers and acquisitions and consolidation. While finances of SoftBank Group International are handled by its Managing Director Kabir Misra, fund is looked after by Rajeev Misra, the fund’s chief executive officer.

"Kabir handled the Snapdeal merger talks, then funding Paytm. He is also said to be involved in Uber-Grab merger and is now holding talks between Walmart and Flipkart. Rajeev looks at what all firms the company can put money in. He is behind talks of a massive solar power project and is hand picking tech firms to invest in,” a source close to the company said.

The fund is backed by Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi and has invested more than $36 billion over the past one year. The firm is backing Saudi Arabia as well as India’s ambitious solar power projects.

It is leading a $535-million investment round in DoorDash, a food-delivery app based out of San Francisco, as well as planning to invest $150 million in Loggi, a Brazil-based platform that matches couriers to shippers.

Misra told the media some time back that the $100-billion Vision Fund would invest in another 30 companies over the next two years, adding to the 30 it has already invested in over the last year. It is also working on a $25-billion plan to create global football tournaments for FIFA and also plans to invest in slew of media houses in the near future.