Salesforce, SF’s largest employer, has two abrupt CEO exits


It appears there has been something of a mass exit at the end of the year at Salesforce, San Francisco’s largest employer, with two prominent technology industry CEOs and other senior figures retiring in a matter of days.

Two CEOs at Salesforce — Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor and Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield — announced their departures within days of each other, a destabilizing exit for the company. (Slack was purchased by Salesforce in 2021.) According to an internal Slack message from Butterfield obtained by SFGATE, chief product officer Tamar Yehoshua and senior vice president of marketing and communications Jonathan Prince are also included in Monday’s departure announcement of Butterfield.

Butterfield has been Slack’s CEO since the product formally launched in 2013 as an offshoot of the startup Tiny Speck.

“It’s been a long and wild run,” Butterfield said in the internal message. “I am not going to do anything entrepreneurial. While it may sound corny, I’m actually going to be spending more time with my family.”

Taylor’s departure was first reported by the Wall Street Journal last Wednesday. In a brief statement to the Journal, he said “this is the right time for me to step back” and return to his “entrepreneurial roots”. Taylor took the co-CEO position about a year ago, replacing Keith Block, who served an 18-month tenure as co-CEO before leaving in 2020.

Ostensibly to allay any concerns about the orchestrated exits, Butterfield began his post by noting that his exit has “weird timing” and “has nothing to do with Bret’s departure”. Internal messages first obtained by Fortune suggest he was blindsided by Taylor’s sudden departure, writing that there is “no way this could be taken as a good thing”.

Butterfield will be replaced by Lidiane Jones, executive vice president at Salesforce. Marc Benioff returns to sole position of CEO. Both transitions are expected to officially take place in 2023.

“I know this is pretty big news, but if you’ve known me for a while, you know I just don’t say things I don’t believe,” Butterfield said in the post. ‘I can not do it. So you can trust me when I say everything will be fine.”

A Salesforce spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from SFGATE.

In November, the San Francisco tech giant laid off hundreds of people.

Heard anything going on at a tech company in the Bay Area? Securely contact SFGATE technology editor Joshua Bote on Signal at 707-742-3756.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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