Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) chief business officer, Nikesh Arora, is leaving the company to become vice chairman of Japanese wireless carrier SoftBank. The move overshadowed the release of Google's second-quarter earnings Thursday and is the latest shakeup in the search giant's executive team.
Arora will become vice chairman in October after nearly a decade at Google and will also serve as CEO of the newly formed SoftBank Internet & Media. In that role he will be directly responsible for overseeing the company's Internet, telecommunications, media and global investment activities, SoftBank said.
Google said in a statement that Omid Kordestani, who was the company's business founder and led its sales teams for many years, will be stepping in to lead the business organization for now.
The move comes amid increased global activity by SoftBank, which controls 80 percent of Sprint (NYSE: S) and is also reportedly close to making a bid to merge Sprint with T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS). SoftBank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son has been lobbying heavily for such a deal for months now amid skepticism from U.S. regulators.
"I have had the good fortune of getting to know Nikesh over the last five years," Son said in a statement. "He brings a rare set of skills: amazing financial and strategic acumen; a decade of executive experience at one of the fastest growing companies in history; a deep understanding of the telecommunications industry."
As Bloomberg notes, Arora joined Google before the company's initial public offering and played a key role in building the company's search-advertising service into the biggest online ad business in the world.
Arora's departure is the latest reshuffling of Google CEO Larry Page's top lieutenants. Android chief Andy Rubin stepped aside last year to focus on robotics and was replaced by Sundar Pichai, who heads Android, Chrome and Google Apps. Salar Kamangar, the head of YouTube, was succeeded in February by longtime Google ad executive Susan Wojcicki. Then in April, Vic Gundotra, who had led Google's networking services, said he was leaving.
BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis told Reuters that the changes reflect the changing nature of Google's business as it moves into new frontiers in telecommunications and media. "The opportunities they're chasing are so much bigger now," he said.
"They weren't digging up fiber four years ago. They didn't have Chromecast," he added, referring to Google's ultra-high-speed fiber network and Google's gadget for streaming online content to TVs.
In terms of Google's second-quarter results, the company said that revenue, excluding sales passed on to partners, came in at $12.7 billion. That beat analysts' estimates of $12.3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company said net income was $3.42 billion, compared with $3.23 billion in the second quarter of 2013. Google said its average cost-per-click, which includes clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of its ad-network members, fell around 6 percent compared with the second quarter of 2013 and remained constant from the first quarter of 2014.
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