General Colin Powell Joins Salesforce Board Of Directors, As CRM Giant Zeros In On Public Sector

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Salesforce today announced an interesting development in its leadership ranks: General Colin Powell is joining its board of directors. He brings the total number of members of the board up to 11.

The move comes as Salesforce continues to build up its business as a service provider to public sector organizations, having launched a special cloud and social media platform for government groups in 2012 and last year expanded that to also include mobile apps.

Powell has been something of a player in Silicon Valley for some time now. Since 2005, he has been a strategic limited partner at storied VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He serves on the board of directors of Bloom Energy, a Sunnyvale, CA-based fuel cell technology company backed by KPCB, among others.

As much as Salesforce works (and wants to work more) with the kinds of organizations where Powell’s presence may add credibility, the appointment also sounds like a personal development. Powell is a friend to Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff, and he has in years past helped Salesforce develop its corporate social responsibility role through things like the Salesforce.com Foundation and other philanthropic endeavors.

“We are honored and delighted that General Powell has joined our Board of Directors,” said Benioff in a statement.  “General Powell is an extraordinary leader who has inspired and influenced me during more than 15 years of friendship. He was also instrumental in shaping salesforce.com’s integrated philanthropic model and the formation of the Salesforce.com Foundation many years ago. We couldn’t be happier to have him join our Board.”

General Powell, who is now retired, was a four star general in the United States Army. Among his many other accomplishments, he has served as U.S. National Security Advisor, Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and he was the 65th U.S. Secretary of State.

He is currently also a member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations.

“After many years of friendship with Marc and admiration for salesforce.com, I am excited to be joining the Company’s Board of Directors,” said General Powell in a statement. “In addition to being on the forefront of innovation, salesforce.com has been a remarkable leader, and has inspired many other companies, as it has made philanthropy a central part of its value system.”

With the appointment of General Powell, salesforce.com says its Board of Directors now consists of Marc Benioff, salesforce.com chairman and CEO; Keith Block, salesforce.com president and vice chairman; Craig Conway, former CEO of PeopleSoft; Alan Hassenfeld, former chairman and CEO of Hasbro; Craig Ramsey, former senior vice president of worldwide sales for Siebel; Sanford Robertson, principal of Francisco Partners; John Roos, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan; Lawrence Tomlinson, former senior vice president and treasurer for Hewlett-Packard Company; Robin Washington, CFO of Gilead Sciences; Maynard Webb, chairman of Yahoo! Inc.; and General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.