One of the loudest — and deepest-pocketed — champions of Miami’s tech scene may soon be out of a job over a pay dispute. SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure, is demanding an eye-popping $2 billion in compensation over the next several years, The New York Times reported.
The lavish demand has pitted the executive against his boss, SoftBank’s founder and chief executive, Masayoshi Son, who is reluctant to concede, according to sources who spoke to the Times. Not only would the $2 billion payday mark an astronomical increase from the $17 million Claure earned last year, but large compensations are also frowned upon in Son’s native Japan.
If the top executives do not come to an agreement, Claure would walk away from his high-profile job, which he’s held since 2018, within the coming months, per the Times.
Claure believes he is owed such an astronomical sum for rebuilding failing companies that SoftBank had invested in heavily, such as WeWork, as well as his work finding start-ups for the conglomerate to fund.
SoftBank put Magic City on the map as a destination for the tech industry, with Claure serving as the face of SoftBank’s new venture. In January 2021, before Miami’s tech boom fully took off, Claure announced the company would invest $100 million in startups based in Miami. By October, the firm had invested over $250 million.
The quest to bolster Miami’s tech industry seemed personal for Claure. He launched his first company, cell phone distributor Brightstar, from Miami in 1997 and currently resides in the city. “I owe a great amount of my success to the relationships and connections I made in the 305 [area code],” Claure wrote on Linkedin in a post explaining Sofbank’s $100 million investment.
While Miami’s tech scene has grown beyond SoftBank’s investment thanks to the ascension of its cryptocurrency community, the conglomerate remains a major player. But with a company like SoftBank — which makes bold bets based on the gut instincts of its executives, as the Times noted — it remains to be seen whether the company will continue to play such a critical role if Claure left.
Julia Echikson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.