The Japanese telecom giant SoftBank has hired a public relations veteran to beef up its communications department as it fights for approval for its subsidiary Sprint to merge with T-Mobile and amid scrutiny of the firm’s ties with Saudi Arabia.
Gary Ginsberg is joining SoftBank from Time Warner, after helping sell that company’s merger with AT&T. Ginsberg, who also served in the Clinton administration and at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., will be SoftBank’s global head of communications.
“Mr. Ginsberg brings extensive communications experience, serving as a strategist in both the public and private sectors for more than 25 years,” Marcelo Claure, SoftBank’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.
SoftBank’s Sprint is currently urging regulators to approve its $26 billion merger with T-Mobile, a deal that might be a hard sell for two of the only four national wireless providers.
SoftBank has also been drawn into the controversy over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.
A number of U.S. companies have been facing heat over accepting Saudi investments, but SoftBank may have some of the deepest ties of them all.
The Saudis are the single largest investor in SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund, which is dedicated to investing in U.S. tech companies like Uber, WeWork and Doordash.
In his new role, Ginsberg will answer directly to Claure and Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s billionaire CEO, and will oversee the company’s communications strategy.
”I have admired SoftBank’s evolution and growth for many years, and I’m thrilled to be joining them now at such a dynamic time when the Company’s mission to invest in some of the world’s most critical and defining new technologies has never been more important,” Ginsberg said in a statement.