In a surprising announcement on December 1, 2022, it was revealed that Bret Taylor, co-CEO of Salesforce, is stepping down after only a year in the role.
The question is, what does this mean for the future of Salesforce, and the position as co-CEO?
Why is Bret Taylor Stepping Down?
It appears that Bret is leaving on amicable terms, stating in the announcement:
“After a lot of reflection, I’ve decided to return to my entrepreneurial roots. Salesforce has never been more relevant to customers, and with its best-in-class management team and the company executing on all cylinders, now is the right time for me to step away.”
This will not come as a shock to many who know Bret, as he is a serial entrepreneur, founding and selling multiple tech companies. It’s widely known that Marc Benioff has mentored Bret Taylor for numerous years, long before he joined Salesforce and affectionally described him as:
“A phenomenal industry leader who has been instrumental in creating incredible success for our customers and driving innovation throughout our company.”
Who is Bret Taylor?
Bret Taylor is a serial entrepreneur and a familiar face in the Silicon Valley start-up scene. After graduating from Stanford University, he held senior positions at Google and Facebook, as well as founded (and exited) two businesses, which led him to his role of President & COO at Salesforce. From his key achievements, you can see why he has risen the ranks to the position he holds today.
- Taylor joined Google in 2003 as a Group Product Manager where he co-created Google Maps, Google Local, as well as the Google Maps API.
- He joined Benchmark Capital in 2007 as an Entrepreneur in Residence where he founded FriendFeed, and sold it to Facebook in 2009 for an estimated $50M.
- At Facebook, he served as Chief Technology Officer for three years, and is credited with the invention of the “Like” button.
- Taylor left Facebook in 2012 to found Quip, a document collaboration platform that was acquired by Salesforce in 2016 for $750M.
- At Salesforce, Taylor has served as CEO of Quip, Chief Product Officer, President & Chief Operating Officer and since November 2021 Co-CEO & Vice Chair of the Board.
- He spearheaded the acquisition of Slack in 2020.
Who Will Be The Next Co-CEO?
Bret Taylor will leave Salesforce, effective January 31, 2023, leaving Marc Benioff as the sole CEO. His departure comes almost three years after the previous co-CEO, Keith Block, left the company.
During Bret’s time as co-CEO, insiders described his role as taking care of the day-to-day operations, enabling Marc to focus on strategy and other philanthropic efforts. Presumably, in the short term, Marc will once again handle day-to-day operations, whilst seeking a replacement co-CEO. Who could this be? Currently, there is no information about potential candidates, but Marc has tons of internal talent to choose from!
What Does This Mean For Salesforce?
The shock announcement came at the same time as Salesforce announcing better than expected fiscal third quarter results. Analysts predicted $7.82 billion but revenue came in at $7.84 billion.
Salesforce’s total revenue has increased 14% year-over-year, and sales of their flagship product Sales Cloud, came in at $7.23 billion, up 13% year-over-year.
It’s a difficult time in the technology industry at present, but customer expectations are higher than ever, and businesses are ever more reliant on technology like Salesforce. Whilst new customer sales may slow, or sales cycles get longer, demand for CRM tools and professionals to configure them generally remains high. Curious to find out more? Check out our post below.