When bankers working on Arm’s impending initial public offering wanted to talk to one of the executives in charge of the SoftBank-owned chip designer, they sometimes heard heavy breathing on the other end of the phone. It was the sound of Jason Child, a longtime Amazon executive who is now Arm’s chief financial officer, running up a mountain near his home in Idaho.
Arm’s upcoming IPO is the 54-year-old Child’s latest sprint in a career marked by dramatic highs and lows. The last company Child took public was fast-growing Groupon a dozen years ago—and it made several accounting blunders on its way to a big IPO before the business fizzled. He had stints at SoftBank-backed home seller Opendoor, which he left before it went public, and smartwatch maker Jawbone, where he spent a year before it went bankrupt. One former colleague called Child an “adrenaline junkie” who has sought out risky startups with big ambitions.
Arm, which is set to be the biggest public listing of the year by far, is Child’s best chance at an IPO redo. But the pressure is on: The fortunes of SoftBank, its founder Masayoshi Son and the broader IPO market hang in the balance.