Slack’s CEO and co-founder, Stewart Butterfield, is resigning from his post and quitting Slack’s parent firm Salesforce in early January. This comes less than a week after announcing that Bret Taylor would step down as co-CEO and vice-chair of Salesforce early in the following year.
Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Salesforce Inc.’s Slack, is resigning after less than two years in the position, giving another shock to the tech behemoth that has already been shaken by a management exodus. The business announced on Monday that other senior executives in Slack would also leave, terrifying the subsidiary that Salesforce bought in July 2021 for $27 billion in its biggest acquisition.
In a note to the staff, Butterfield stated that his leaving was unrelated to Taylor’s and that he had been planning it for a while. Jonathan Price, senior vice president of brand, marketing, and communications, and Tamar Yehoshua, the chief product officer for Slack, will also leave the Salesforce subsidiary next month.
A senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, Anurag Rana, noted that Butterfield’s resignation is a risk for the company, considering recent high-profile management exits in the past few months. This might put more pressure on founder and CEO Marc Benioff to reassure investors that the business still has a strong bench of leaders who can recover organic growth, which has steadily declined in the past several quarters.
All eyes will now be on Butterfield’s future endeavors and whether he plans to return to his entrepreneurial roots. Butterfield, 49, said his experience with the firm since its beginning has been a long run and stated that he has no plans to return to his days as an entrepreneur. In a note to employees, Butterfield also mentioned that he is now working on some personal projects.
The Journey of Slack’s CEO
Butterfield co-founded a photo-sharing website in 2004, but he sold it to Yahoo a year later. He later discovered the game Glitch, and from there, the company’s internal communication tool became Slack, which was named in 2013.
The business went public in 2019 before its acquisition by Salesforce for $27.7 billion (£20 billion) in late 2020, which they termed one of the largest tech mergers in recent years. The deal was described as a “match made in heaven” by Marc Benioff, CEO of the business software company. Butterfield was also a founding partner of the video game development firm Tiny Speck. Tiny Speck initially designed Slack as a platform for internal collaboration.
Lidiane Jones to Take over Slack as a New CEO
According to the spokesman, Lidiane Jones will replace Butterfield as CEO of Slack. Jones worked for Microsoft Corp. and Sonos Inc. before joining Salesforce in 2019. She most recently held the position of executive vice president for Salesforce’s commerce cloud, experience cloud, and marketing cloud divisions.
Some statements claimed that Stewart was “instrumental in choosing” Lidiane as the future CEO. Lidiane has been a member of Salesforce’s leadership for over three years and has solid customer and enterprise technology expertise.
In his message, Butterfield complimented Jones, noting that she has “enormous credibility inside of Salesforce”, and “a deep admiration for our customer obsession, our approach to product, and our unique culture” at Slack.
Like Slack, Salesforce’s recent acquisitions are also experiencing a decline in executive staff. Tableau’s CEO just announced his resignation from the firm. Other executives, including Chief Marketing Officer Jackie Yeaney of Tableau, and Chief Data Officer Wendy Turner-Williams, left the organization.
Butterfield is now heading away. Although it’s possible that the timing of each of these statements was a complete coincidence, it might be hard to believe. Although Salesforce traditionally has a strong executive bench, these three announcements in close succession have significantly reduced its executive talent pool.