TOKYO — SoftBank Group Corp. Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said Thursday that he’s stepping down from the board of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., effective an equivalent day.
Son’s announcement, which he made at the top of SoftBank’s 9984, -0.50% annual shareholder meeting, follows the resignation — also effective Thursday but announced last month — of Alibaba BABA, -1.10% co-founder Jack Ma from SoftBank’s board.
The pair of resignations brings to an end around a decade and a half during which the 2 powerful entrepreneurs — Son from Japan and Ma from China — cemented their close relationship by serving as directors of every others’ companies. Son has been on Alibaba’s board since 2005, five years after SoftBank took a serious stake within the then-small Chinese online retailer. Ma came on SoftBank’s board a couple of years later, in 2007.
Son said he was stepping down at his own request, which he was “matching” the day of his resignation with Ma’s. He said that the parting of the way was smooth, which he hadn’t had a fight with Alibaba.