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SoftBank lines up 3 potential successors to Masayoshi Son

Ex-Goldman banker named VP with Sprint and Vision Fund chiefs

Who will succeed founder and CEO Masayoshi Son remains a big question hanging over SoftBank.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group appointed a trio of executive vice presidents on Friday in a move sure to fuel speculation over who will become CEO Masayoshi Son's heir apparent.

Marcelo Claure, now chief operating officer, will add his new post upon election at a June 20 shareholders meeting, the Japanese technology investment group said in a news release. He became COO in May, when he was promoted to executive chairman at SoftBank-owned U.S. mobile carrier Sprint.

Also rising to executive vice president is Rajeev Misra, the veteran banker who will continue to run the SoftBank Vision Fund. SoftBank launched the $100 billion investment vehicle last year with the Saudi Arabian government.

The duo will be joined by Katsunori Sago, who will also become chief strategy officer. The Goldman Sachs alumnus went on to serve as an executive vice president at Japan Post Bank. He was originally picked as a director but will now oversee the group's entire investment game plan.

Sago "possesses highly specialized subsets like knowledge and experience in finance, and I would like for him to work on various fronts as my lieutenant," Son told Nikkei on Thursday.

Son's former handpicked successor and second in command, Nikesh Arora, stepped down in 2016 as president and COO. Son's desire to stay at the helm for at least five more years prompted Arora's departure.

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