TOKYO: Nikesh Arora, the India-born president and COO of Japanese telecom giant SoftBank, received a pay package of about USD 73 million (Rs 500 crore) in the fiscal year ended March 31, making him one of the top paid executives worldwide for the second year in a row.
Arora, seen as heir apparent to SoftBank’s billionaire founder Masayoshi Son, received a salary package of USD 73 million, including a compensation of USD 14.2 million from other SoftBank units, media reports said, citing a proxy statement issued by SoftBank.
The pay package of Arora, already Japan’s highest paid executive, is in the same range as of Apple’s Tim Cook and Walt Disney’s Bob Iger.
In the previous fiscal, he had got a USD 135 million pay package including a joining bonus. Arora had joined SoftBank as its vice-chairman and CEO of SB Group US (previously SoftBank Internet and Media Inc) in September 2014 from the search giant Google.
In May last year, he was elevated to president and COO, the first time in 35-year history of SoftBank that anyone was given the ‘president’ title.
At that time, Son had also mentioned that Arora is the most likely candidate to succeed him in the future. Last month, Son reiterated his confidence in Arora when a group of unidentified investors in the US questioned the Banaras Hindu University-graduate’s abilities for the role he currently plays in the company and had sought his removal.
Son had said, “I have complete trust in Nikesh and one thousand per cent confidence in him and know he will continue to do great things for SoftBank in the future.”
Arora, who is responsible for global operations, has led SoftBank’s investments in India’s e-commerce provider Snapdeal.com, ride-hailing service Ola Cabs, real-estate website Housing.com, hotel-booking app Oyo Rooms and Grofers.
SoftBank’s investment in India has crossed the USD 1 billion mark and it has recently stated that its investment in the country will cross USD 10 billion in the coming years.
In June last year, SoftBank along with contract manufacturing giant Foxconn had partnered with Bharti Enterprises with plans to invest USD 20 billion in solar power projects in India.
The investors had called on the board to investigate alleged conflict of interest and Arora’s poor performance in making investments for SoftBank with a lack of proper due diligence.
SoftBank, however, stood by Arora, saying he “remains a highly valued leader with proven investment abilities and we are confident he will continue to make great contributions at SoftBank in the years ahead.”
Arora, 48, also denied allegations against him as baseless.
“I take my fiduciary responsibilities seriously and have acted appropriately and in the best interest of shareholders throughout my tenure at SoftBank and Sprint, just as I have conducted myself throughout my professional life. I am completely confident the allegations in the letter are baseless,” he had said in a statement.
Arora, who gave up a high-profile post at Google to join the Japanese firm in 2014, last August said he would buy 60 billion yen of the company’s shares, worth USD 483 million at the time to show his confidence in its prospects.
That was the largest insider purchase by an executive in Japan in at least 12 years.
“We can confirm we are in receipt of a letter from a US law firm claiming to represent unidentified shareholders. The letter makes unsubstantiated allegations against Mr Arora,” SoftBank said. “The Board takes its duties seriously and is in the process of reviewing the letter.” -PTI