Masayoshi Son's SoftBank Group Corp. is planning to cut at least 20 per cent of staff at its Vision Fund operation, following the public pledges from the founder to fire people at the world's biggest tech investor. According to various sources, the cuts will mostly be in the UK, US and China operations, which have the most headcount. The Vision Fund unit had about 500 employees including Latin America funds staff.
Son had said in August he plans widespread cost-cutting at his conglomerate and the Vision Fund investment arm after a record $23 billion loss. The Tokyo-based company will slash a minimum of 100 positions and may announce the job cuts as early as this month.
Senior and junior employees in both front and back offices are being scrutinised to an extent. The US has 200 people including Latam staff, the UK has 150 people and China has 50 people.
The bank's founder said that he would review “everything” for potential cuts without any “sacred cows.”
“The loss is the biggest in our corporate history and we take it very seriously,” he said at the time. “We have to resort to big cost-cutting efforts at Vision Fund. The cost-cutting efforts will have to include a reduction in headcount - something I’ve made up my mind to do," he added.
The decision comes after Son has started to take on increasing responsibility at the company he founded 40 years ago. Rajeev Misra, who helped Son set up the initial Vision Fund with almost $100 billion in 2017, is stepping down from his roles as a corporate officer and executive vice president at SoftBank while Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure also left earlier this year, while former Chief Strategy Officer Katsunori Sago resigned in 2021.
The Japanese entrepreneur has told investors that he is taking defensive steps to navigate his way through a brutal tech downturn. SoftBank said last month that it had raised more than $17 billion by selling forward contracts on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the Chinese e-commerce company that made Son’s reputation as a startup investor.
Son also said SoftBank has begun talks to sell asset manager Fortress Investment Group, acquired for $3.3 billion in 2017. To bolster SoftBank’s share price, Son unveiled a fresh program to buy back as much as 400 billion yen of its stock.