There has been speculation for some time that Marc Benioff was ready to step back, perhaps take the same path as Jeff Bezos and move to chairman of the board. The scuttlebutt had it that Bret Taylor was in line for a promotion. Seems Benioff wasn’t ready to go out to pasture just yet, but Taylor got his promotion today to co-CEO at the CRM giant.
Taylor, who was president and chief operating officer, is now vice chair and co-CEO working alongside Benioff, rather than reporting to him. Benioff sees this as a good way to operate moving forward as the company has expanded greatly in recent years with major acquisitions like the $15.7 billion deal for Tableau in 2019 or the $27.7 billion Slack acquisition, which Taylor spearheaded, at the end of last year.
There’s a lot of ground to cover, and it’s probably a hard job for one person to take it all on alone. “We’re in a new world and Salesforce has never been more relevant or strategic for our customers. Together, Bret and I will lead Salesforce through our next chapter, while living our shared values of trust, customer success, innovation and equality for all,” Benioff said in a (bland) statement.
Taylor, as you would expect, was grateful for the opportunity as he moves to the top of the food chain alongside Benioff. “Partnering with him to lead the company he co-founded 22 years ago is an enormous privilege. I’m thankful for our Salesforce employees, our Trailblazers, our customers, and all of our stakeholders who help us make our company and our world a better place,” Taylor said in a statement.
This isn’t the first time that the company has gone the co-CEO route. Prior to this, Keith Block held that role starting in 2018 before leaving in 2020.
Taylor, who at one time was CEO at early social network FriendFeed, also served as CTO at Facebook from 2009-2012. He came to Salesforce when it acquired Quip for $750 million in 2016. He quickly moved through the ranks leapfrogging other longtime executives. He was promoted to president and chief operating officer in 2019, placing him just below Benioff until today.
It’s been quite a week for Taylor, who was also named independent chairman of the board at Twitter on Tuesday.