By Sam Nussey
TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank Group Corp said on Wednesday it has appointed former Goldman Sachs banker Taiichi Hoshino as head of a new investment planning department, as the group increases oversight of its tech bets battered by volatile markets.
Souring bets across its portfolio have left SoftBank selling down prime assets and holding back from making new investments. Hoshino is expected to bolster the investment team at a time when CEO Masayoshi Son has received criticism for his top-down investing approach.
Ex-hedge fund manager Hoshino is the second SoftBank hire from a group at Japan Post Bank that was known as the “Seven Samurai” and tried a more aggressive investing strategy that has since been rolled back.
The other is Katsunori Sago, also a Goldman alumnus, who became SoftBank’s chief strategy officer in 2018 and is seen as a possible successor to CEO Son.
Hoshino is faced with an increasingly beleaguered portfolio, with satellite operator OneWeb, which embodied Son’s vision of a connected world, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after failing to raise further funds.
Shared-office operator WeWork is also facing growing pressure on its business model as workers stay home due to the coronavirus outbreak, and SoftBank is looking at walking away from a tender offer to employees and shareholders following its bailout of the firm.
(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Tom Hogue)