Business Insider Edition

This Wits graduate travels around the world to invest in startups - a job that earned him almost half a billion rand last year

Business Insider SA
 Sep 09, 2019, 05:35 PM

(supplied, SoftBank)
(supplied, SoftBank)
  • South African born Ronald Fisher is SoftBank’s highest-paid executive earning almost R500 million a year. 
  • He is the head of SoftBank’s $100 billion investment fund, the world’s largest tech-start-up fund. 
  • Fisher holds a Bcom degree from Wits University, and an MBA from Columbia. 
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

South African born Ronald Fisher is the highest-paid SoftBank executive, earning $31 million, or roughly R455 million, in 2018.

The 71-year-old is head of SoftBank Investment which invests over $100 billion, or roughly R1.4 trillion, in startups through its SoftBank Vision Fund - the world’s largest tech-start-up fund.

The division has invested in everything from co-working space WeWorks to office communications tool Slack.

Fisher said his typical day in the office is spent travelling to various continents to explore business opportunities. 

“So my travel takes me to places where I can talk to brilliant entrepreneurs about their ideas to upend their sector, and more often than not, change the way their customers engage in the world,” he said.

“In other words, my typical day is pretty incredible.” 

Fisher joined Japanese multinational telecommunications company SoftBank in 1995, overseeing its United States operations.

Before joining SoftBank, Fisher spent five years as CEO of Phoenix Technologies, a developer and marketer of system software products for personal computers. 

He was also the CEO of Interactive Systems Corporation, which was acquired by Kodak in 1988. 

He holds a Bcom degree from the University of Witwatersrand and a Masters in Business Administration from Columbia University in New York, one of the world’s oldest business schools. 

Fisher is married with five children.

In an interview with Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, he said his religious South African family taught him the importance of prioritising rest.

“Just as God rested after creating heaven and earth, we were taught, so should we — starting an hour before sundown on Friday, until the stars appeared Saturday night,” he said. 

“My weekly digital detox is also indispensable to my personal productivity and mental health. In a 24-hour global business environment where our mobile devices offer constant connection, I don’t think I could ever work as intensely as I do without a regular recharge.”

Compiled by James de Villiers. 

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