The $2 billion man? Marcelo Claure seeks top pay from SoftBank

The top exec, who cleaned up WeWork, in battle with Masayoshi Son over past and future compensation

Marcelo Claure (Credit: Getty Images)
Marcelo Claure (Credit: Getty Images)

What’re a few billion dollars between friends?

The New York Times is reporting that Marcelo Claure, the chief operating officer of SoftBank who was brought in by its founder, Masayoshi Son, to clean up messy investments in money-losing tech start-ups, are in a battle over the compensation for doing so — to the tune of $2 billion over the next few years.

The paper reports Son is only willing to pay Claure, who previously managed the telecom company Sprint at Son’s request, tens of millions of dollars at the most.

But Claure is insisting he is owed the $2 billion for the untangling he has already done, most notably at WeWork and Uber, as well as the value he could bring to the company in the future, the Times reports.

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Negotiations between lawyers for Claure and SoftBank have been going on for weeks and have stressed the relationship between the two, with Claure’s nuclear option of leaving the company with or without the compensation on the table, the paper said.

Leadership at SoftBank, a Japanese company, fears that handing out such a large payday would upset investors back home, where tremendous payouts to executives are not looked kindly upon. Claure was already paid $17 million last year and is one of the top-paid executives in Japan since joining the company. Even in the United States, only one executive — Alexander Karp — has a compensation package worth more than $1 billion, the Times said.

SoftBank confirmed to the paper that the two parties are involved in discussions regarding Claure’s role at the company and his compensation, and called him “an important executive at SoftBank who has helped with many important initiatives.”

Son and Claure’s relationship dates back to 2013 when Son purchased Claure’s smartphone distributor, Brightstar, for $1.3 billion.

[NY Times] — Vince DiMiceli