SoftBank Group Corp. slid as much as 5.7% Wednesday, taking losses to about 13% this week after news emerged the Japanese conglomerate had made substantial bets on equity derivatives in tech stocks before a broad sector selloff.
Bloomberg – The Japanese company touched a low of 5,511 yen in Tokyo morning trade. It has shed roughly $15 billion of market value since Monday as SoftBank’s big bets on high-flying tech stocks from Amazon.com Inc. to Alphabet Inc. spooked investors.
Fentress joined Soft-Bank in 2018, the year after the Japanese conglomerate created the $100 billion Vision Fund to invest in tech startups. The fund drew criticism for helping inflate private company valuations and placing outsized bets on untested companies such as WeWork. More recently, Soft-Bank has turned its attention to buying stakes in publicly traded tech companies, a strategy that has drawn scrutiny from investors wary of frothy tech stock prices.
A SoftBank spokeswoman confirmed Fentress’s departure as the company’s chief compliance officer, but didn’t immediately supply further details, including who his replacement at SoftBank would be.
Fentress, who was appointed to the board of WeWork earlier this year, left his seat on that company’s board on Sept. 1, according to a spokeswoman for WeWork parent We Co. Fentress’s replacement on the board will be Michel Combes, the former chief executive officer of Sprint Corp., the WeWork spokeswoman said.
Combes is a longtime telecommunications executive who previously led Alcatel-Lucent and Vodafone Europe. At the helm of Sprint, he succeeded Marcelo Claure, SoftBank’s Miami-based chief operating officer, when Claure left that position to become chief operating officer of Soft-Bank in 2018. Combes left the company when Sprint completed its merger with T-Mobile earlier this year.
Fentress isn’t the only SoftBank executive to depart in recent weeks. Last month, SoftBank’s global government affairs officer, Ziad Ojakli, said he was leaving the company. Like Fentress, Ojakli also joined Soft-Bank in 2018. Both men had reported to Claure.
Fentress’s prior roles include chief compliance officer at Nokia Oyj, the phone giant, and vice president for compliance at PayPal Holdings Inc.