SoftBank on Monday announced that Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma will resign from its board, Reuters reported. He is the latest member to exit after after billionaire and Fast Retailing founder Tadashi Yanai’s departure last year.
The Japanese bank also reported a record annual operating loss of 1.9 trillion yen ($18 billion) at its giant Vision Fund. Ma is a close ally of SoftBank founder and Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son. The bank did not explain the reason behind Ma’s departure, but reports suggested that he exited from formal business roles to focus on philanthropy. Ma, who is still a director of the Chinese e-commerce company, had served on the board for nearly 13 years, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“The coronavirus is an unprecedented crisis,” Son told an earnings presentation, comparing it to the Great Depression. The worldwide restrictions due to the pandemic has severely affected the company’s investment portfolio.
The bank added that “uncertainty in its investment business will remain over the next fiscal year” if the pandemic continues.
SoftBank will propose three new appointments to the board, including group Chief Financial Officer Yoshimoto Goto, Lip-Bu Tan, the CEO of chip design software firm Cadence Design Systems, and Yuko Kawamoto, a professor at Waseda Business School as outside directors at its annual general meeting on June 25. The number of board members will be increased to 13.