SoftBank Robotics Removes Strategy Executive Steve Carlin

(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp.’s robotics unit removed Steve Carlin, its chief strategy officer for the Americas, according to a memo sent to employees on Thursday.

Kenichi Yoshida, chief business officer at SoftBank Robotics, told employees that Carlin left as part of a reorganization. Carlin helped "during a critical time of transition" when the division created a new brand and launched products in North America, Yoshida wrote, while noting a replacement is being sought.

SoftBank Robotics Removes Strategy Executive Steve Carlin

The robotics group was created through the 2012 acquisition of French company Aldebaran Robotics SA. The combined entity unveiled Pepper, a humanoid robot, in 2014. The Pepper project never really took off as a business, and there have been culture clashes between French engineers and managers in Tokyo.

Last year, SoftBank introduced a more practical robot called Whiz, which cleans floors for businesses. There are more than 25,000 SoftBank Robotics robots used around the world, according to the company.

Yoshida said he will "continue to oversee SoftBank Robotics America" and that he’s been "tasked with accelerating the collaboration with the SoftBank Vision Fund and SoftBank Group," according to the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

Carlin oversaw commercial activity for SoftBank Robotics in North and South America. Earlier in his career, he worked at Facebook Inc. as global head of strategy for gaming, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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