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Jack Ma steps down from Softbank board

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, has announced plans to step down from the board of directors of SoftBank.

Ma will resign from the company effective June 25, SoftBank acknowledged in a press release. It’s a notable blow to the company and marks the end of a 14-year tenure on the board.

The departure also comes on the heels of SoftBank announcing an annual operating loss of $12.7 billion, its biggest loss ever.

Ma’s ties to the company come via his relationship with SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son. In 2000, Son invested $20 million in Alibaba. When that company went public 14 years later, the investment was worth $60 billion. Son, in announcing the departure to investors said the two “will remain friends for the rest of our lives.”

Instead, Ma has begun to focus more on philanthropic efforts. He retired as executive chairman of Alibaba last fall.

SoftBank’s losses stemmed, in large part, from its Vision Fund, a tech-centric investment arm, and that division’s bet on office space company WeWork. The company is taking steps to bring its financial house into order, selling $41 billion in assets to buy back shares and reduce debt. It has also secured $11.5 billion in funding using its Alibaba shares as collateral.

While WeWork was a bad investment for the company, it still owns stakes in several powerful tech names, including T-Mobile, Slack, Boston Dynamics, and Uber.

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Chris Morris
Chris Morris has covered consumer technology and the video game industry since 1996, offering analysis of news and trends and…
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