Five months have passed since the appointment of Frenchman Michel Combes as chief operating officer of Softbank. The Japanese conglomerate, represented since its inception 40 years ago by Masayoshi Son, is the rain and the good weather of tech in the world with its countless participations in fundraisers.
But sometimes, the tide turns and a systemic crisis weakens an entire sector. With inflation, the threat of rising interest rates and the devaluation of the nuggets in which they had invested, Softbank is losing.
Michel Combes has decided to resign, we learn in a press release published today. Michael Combes “has decided to leave SoftBank to pursue new opportunities”, can we read this morning. He has yet to announce his plans for the sequel. His daily life within Softbank, he shared it since 2018. Before, the businessman had managed Altice and Alcatel-Lucent.
His replacement will be American, the former investment banker of Morgan Stanley Alex Clavel, who has worked since 2015 at Softbank and who had good relations with Michel Combes. In parallel, the group accuses of a very high rate of resignation in recent months, enough to increase doubts about its financial health.
The biggest investor in French Tech
With Vision Found, its investment fund dedicated to tech companies, Softbank was the biggest investor in French Tech in 2021. The presence of Michel Combes, in its ranks, could only play in favor of l hexagonal ecosystem. His departure could reduce the conglomerate’s sensitivity to local nuggets.
“Europe and France have been able to develop their regulatory, financial and fiscal environment to allow those who wish to do so to develop locally. This is what encouraged me to advise SoftBank to invest more in Europe… with a slightly more attentive look at France, where great opportunities arise”, said Michel Combes last year, in an interview with Maddyness.
Among its recent participations, we can list Sorare ($680 million), Contentsquare ($500 million), Vestiaire Collective ($210 million) and Swile ($200 million), only French startups that have reached unicorn status.