Uniqlo founder Tadashi Yanai steps down from SoftBank board 

Telegraph 27 Dec 2019 12:35

Japan’s richest man is set to step down from the board of SoftBank after 18 years to focus on growing his fashion business following a whirlwind year for the technology conglomerate’s start-up empire. 

Tadashi Yanai, the billionaire founder of Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing, has been a key member of SoftBank’s board having joined as a non-executive director in 2001. He was one of just three external board members.

But Mr Yanai, 70, who has close ties to SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, has been critical of the company’s decision-making on investments, marking his resignation at the end of a year in which some of SoftBank’s key bets have unravelled. 

WeWork, the office rental firm backed by SoftBank’s $100bn Vision Fund, suffered a dramatic collapse in value from $47bn to $8bn after abandoning a planned listing. SoftBank is estimated to have invested $13bn into the company. 

Mr Son has admitted to “turning a blind eye” to the troubles at WeWork, where losses were spiralling and excessive control had been assumed by founder Adam Neumann. SoftBank has since offered WeWork a $9.5bn lifeline in a deal that gives it 80pc control of the firm.

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