In a bid to emerge as the probable right-hand man of Masayoshi Son — chief of SoftBank — Rajeev Misra, Softbank's Vision Fund chief, ran a smear campaign to oust top executives Nikesh Arora and Alok Sama, The Wall Street Journal reported. Arora was once seen as the successor of Son. However, Misra wanted the position for himself. Misra runs a $100-billion technology fund that has invested in companies like in Uber, WeWork, Paytm, Oyo, etc.
WSJ, in its report, said that Misra planted negative stories against Nikesh Arora to damage his reputation in the company. This also included setting up of a honeytrap for potential sexual blackmail. The report said that Misra paid an Italian businessman $500,000 to carry out the plan while promising more money and a senior position in his office. He also inspired a shareholder smear campaign against Arora and Sama that charged both of them with unethical behaviour.
Misra's spokesperson denied the allegations and said, "These are old allegations which contain a series of falsehoods that have been consistently denied. (Misra) did not orchestrate a campaign against his former colleagues."
Nikesh Arora left Softbank in 2016, while Alok Sama quit in 2019. Currently, Arora is the CEO of Palo Alto Networks, and Sama is a senior advisor at Warburg Pincus. Softbank has come under criticism and is going through a rough patch as several investments made by Vision Fund have not done well. Softbank reported two disappointing quarters due to bad investments.