Salesforce Co-CEO Bret Taylor to Step Down

Bret Taylor, co-CEO of Salesforce, announced his resignation on December 1, 2022, after only a year in the position. Marc Benioff, a co-founder of Salesforce and Taylor’s co-CEO, will continue leading the firm and working as board chair, the company announced in a news release.

Taylor spent six years working at Salesforce, recently serving as COO and president, and was promoted to co-CEO in November. He’ll officially leave his post on January 31, 2023. “I am grateful for six amazing years at Salesforce,” said Taylor, who was also vice chairman.

Marc was my mentor long before I started working at Salesforce, and the chance to work with him to manage the most significant software company in the world is a career-defining experience. I’ve decided to return to my entrepreneurial roots after much consideration.Bret Taylor

Mr. Benioff thanked Mr. Taylor for his Salesforce service and expressed disappointment with his departure. He said, “I know he wants to start a third great company.” Mr. Benioff expressed his desire for Mr. Taylor to rejoin Salesforce. In a statement, Benioff referred to Taylor’s resignation as “bittersweet.”

Taylor joined Salesforce in August 2016 after the business purchased Quip, a collaborative productivity software system where he was co-founder and CEO. Taylor was integral to Salesforce’s $27.1 billion acquisition of Slack, the company’s largest deal to date. Taylor’s decision comes at a challenging time for Salesforce, whose shares have dropped almost 40% since the start of this year due to the global economic crisis.

Before joining Salesforce, Taylor served as the CTO of Facebook, where he’s credited with creating the “Like” button. He began his career at Google, where he co-founded Google Maps and FriendFeed — the latter was sold to Facebook in 2009.

Taylor played a massive role in creating Facebook’s “Like” button and Google Maps.

Taylor had quite a hectic year outside of Salesforce. He was the chairman of Twitter before Elon Musk acquired the social media company and played a key role in the chaotic discussions with Musk, who tried to back out of the $44 billion deal almost immediately after agreeing to it.

In July, Taylor publicly announced that Twitter would file a lawsuit to enforce the contract. The two parties were set to go to court until Musk “changed his mind” and said he’d buy Twitter for the agreed-upon price. Taylor stopped tweeting on October 26. The deal was finalized the next day.

Taylor stated in an interview in September that the deal “doesn’t come up a lot” in Salesforce customer meetings. He resigned from the Twitter board when Musk closed the deal. He announced his resignation from Salesforce a month later.

According to company insiders, Taylor oversees many of Salesforce’s day-to-day processes, such as conducting the weekly executive meeting. Meanwhile, Benioff, who has led the company from its start in 1999, has been able to concentrate on philanthropic initiatives and broad strategy.

At Salesforce, the co-CEO arrangement has failed twice before. After serving as CEO and president for five years, Keith Block was promoted to co-CEO in 2018 with Mr. Benioff. He quit after 18 months, saying he was preparing for the next chapter.

When Salesforce released its third-quarter results report, it expected fourth-quarter revenue to be at the low end of analysts’ forecasts. Analysts expected $7.82 billion in revenue, but it came in at $7.84 billion.

Sales of Salesforce’s flagship product, Sales Cloud, reached $7.23 billion, up 13% year over year, accounting for 14% of the company’s overall revenue. Despite exceeding financial expectations, the company’s shares fell by more than 5% when Taylor’s departure was reported.

It’s a challenging moment in the IT industry right now, but customer demands are bigger than ever, and companies are becoming more reliant on technologies like Salesforce. While new customer sales may slow or sales cycles may extend, there’s still a considerable demand for CRM solutions and experts to configure them.

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