Fixing WeWork, investing in LatAm and unicorns: Marcelo Claure's farewell letter to SoftBank

SoftBank's COO part ways with Masayoshi Son and shares details on his journey and achievements with Japanese conglomerate

SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure to step down after dispute over compensation
Sprint Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure departs a hearing at Manhattan Federal Court during the T-Mobile/Sprint federal case in New York City, New York, U.S., January 15, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

After nine years at SoftBank, Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure is leaving the Japanese conglomerate. The executive published a farewell letter to celebrate his achievements for the company.

Claure thanks the company’s founder, Masayoshi Son, in several moments thought his farewell letter. “My professional journey with SoftBank and Masa comes to an end and a new chapter begins. I’m forever grateful for the immense challenges and incredible professional opportunities I’ve been given to tackle throughout my time at SoftBank”.

However, sources from Reuters note that the former COO has been in talks to leave the Japanese group for several months after a fallout with Son over his pay package. Claure’s duties will taken over by Michel Combes.

READ ALSO: SoftBank’s Rodrigo Baer: “Build a business. Don’t overfund your company.”

Claure, who has spent several years inside SoftBank fixing messy investments such as wireless carrier Sprint and office-sharing company WeWork. “While much of the world had turned their backs on WeWork and thought the company was impossible to fix, SoftBank was inspired by the founder’s vision. We firmly believed in the WeWork product and brand and we saw great potential to disrupt the multi-trillion-dollar commercial real estate market”, says Claure.

He also describes its efforts to invest in Latin America.

“In early 2019, with the knowledge I gained as an investor, I had a bold idea to transform venture and entrepreneurship in Latin America, an underrepresented region near and dear to me with very little capital available”, writes SoftBank’s former COO.

READ ALSO: Another change in SoftBank’s leadership in Latin America: new head of communications

He goes on to describe the launch of the now $8 billion SoftBank Latin America Fund, the largest VC fund in Latin America. “A few years later, the Latin America Fund has become one of the best performing funds at SoftBank with a diverse portfolio of 80 companies across nearly every sector, including two-thirds of the region’s unicorns”, comments Claure.

What makes me most proud is the positive influence we’ve had in a once abandoned region. With our support and leadership, Latin America has emerged as a thriving region with exponential growth in entrepreneurs and founders and a booming Venture Capital market. We’ve proven to the world that LatAm entrepreneurs are as good as the rest, the only thing lacking was capital.

Marcelo Claure

Claure did not share his next career step but remarked that will make an announcement when the time is right. However, according to early media reports, he may soon launch his own investment firm.

READ ALSO: SoftBank Latin America funds are much more independent than the group’s other initiatives, shows PitchBook report

“I move forward with the knowledge that everything I’ve learned up to this point in my career – as an entrepreneur, a founder, an operator, and an investor – will prove to be the foundation for future successes. I couldn’t be more optimistic and have a feeling that my most exciting adventure is just around the corner”.

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