Japan's SoftBank Appoints Former Google Exec President

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CEO Masayoshi Son

Nikesh Arora is tipped as future CEO by founder Masayoshi Son as the company reports strong full year earnings.

Masayoshi Son, CEO of Japanese Internet, telecom and investing giant SoftBank, made former Google executive Nikesh Arora president and tapped him as a likely successor as the firm announced expectation-beating operating profits of $8.2 billion (982.7 billion) in Tokyo on Monday.

Arora joined SoftBank last summer and led the company's $250 million investment in Legendary Pictures after a deal to take over DreamWorks Animation failed to come to fruition.

Son, the 57-year-old founder, CEO and chairman of SoftBank, talking to reporters at the earnings briefing, praised Arora's ability and pointed out that the vice chairman was also 10 years younger than him.

Son, known for his indefatigable energy and drive, added, "but I'm not going to retire soon."

SoftBank's profits for the fiscal year to March were down 9 percent compared with the previous year but were ahead of analysts' predictions and its own forecasts. Uncertainty around the outlook for U.S. mobile carrier Sprint, of which it holds 80 percent, stopped SoftBank from issuing a forecast for the current year, according to the company.

Net profit for the year was $5.53 billion (668 billion), up 28 percent, on improved earnings at its mobile businesses and higher advertising revenue from its Yahoo Japan unit.

Although SoftBank has already been on a spending spree across Asia and the U.S., partly on the back of the huge gains it has made from its investment in Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, Son said it was only the beginning.

"We expect more investments and acquisitions, even more so than now…the overseas market will be the main focus for SoftBank," said Son.  

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

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