SoftBank Group Corp. founder Masayoshi Son ended his company’s annual shareholder meeting with a surprise Thursday by announcing he’s stepping down from the board of Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
The billionaire said his departure shouldn’t be interpreted as signifying any disagreements, even though Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma is quitting SoftBank’s board at the same time. Ma and Son have maintained a close friendship since the Japanese entrepreneur was an early investor in Alibaba and helped it along to its current value of roughly $600 billion, calling it the crown jewel of SoftBank’s portfolio.
"It’s not like we had a fight,” Son said during the virtual shareholder meeting. "This was perfectly amicable.”