Ever since Slack became Salesforce’s biggest acquisition to date, all eyes have been trained on what the innovative business messaging app would do next. It was announced last week that Lidiane Jones would be stepping down as Slack CEO and moving to a new position: the Chief Executive of popular dating app, Bumble. This comes just a year after Jones took her CEO position at Slack, replacing current founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield.
It’s now been announced that Denise Dresser has been named as Jones’ successor. Dresser has been a Salesforce executive for more than 12 years, and has most recently been the President of Accelerated Services.
What Does This Mean for Salesforce?
Ditching business for dating is definitely an interesting call, but Jones seems to be a good fit for the role. With three years of experience at Salesforce (including being the Head of Product for Commerce Cloud) as well as 13 years at Microsoft, she’s comfortably solidified herself as a knowledgeable and experienced lead for Bumble.
When Stewart Butterfield stepped down as Slack’s CEO in December 2022, it’s fair to say that it sent shock waves throughout the ecosystem. Coming less than a week after Bret Taylor’s resignation as Co-Chief Executive, it started to create a growing sense of worry. After all, Salesforce had acquired Slack just two years previously, and suddenly, people were jumping ship.
By the tail-end of 2022, Mark Nelson, the CEO of Tableau at the time, had formed part of the “big three” that left Salesforce in such a short space of time. However, earlier this year, Reuters reported that Salesforce have shaken up their executive team to help bolster their C-suite for the next stage of growth.
Miguel Milano, who was the President of EMEA, APAC, and LACA for over 10 years, came back after working at Celonis. Ariel Kelman, who also helped Salesforce grow as VP of Product Marketing back in 2005-2011, returned to Salesforce as CMO after spending some time at Oracle.
However, Lidiane Jones’ departure does pose some questions and reignite some concerns. Was this opportunity just too good to give up, or are Salesforce struggling to integrate their biggest acquisition into their product suite?
It’s difficult to tell, but despite their shiny revenue growth, the company has faced its issues this year. Perhaps most notably, this reached a peak in May, when a coalition of more than 90 organizations staged a protest outside Slack offices in San Francisco and Denver. Voicing their concerns about the lack of encryption for chat messages, the protesters, dressed in “Slack isn’t safe” slogan t-shirts, made it clear that Slack’s claims that the platform was safe enough didn’t resonate with them. Slack has now introduced encryption options.
The protest is highly unlikely to be related to Jones stepping down, but it might have added to the mounting pressure of the role and Slack’s scrutinized decisions surrounding integrating into the wider tech stack.
A New Chapter for Dresser
According to Marc Benioff himself, Denise is “an incredible business leader and champion of Salesforce customer success and innovation”. Before she was a president in the company, she has been an EVP of Enterprise Sales, and with over a decade of experience under her belt and a continuous dedication to Salesforce, it’s evident that she’s a well-placed candidate for the role.
Like Jones, she will have to face a whole host of challenges from users and stakeholders alike, regarding integration, employee satisfaction, and more. After all, she is Slack’s third CEO in under two years, so all eyes will be on her.
Lidiane Jones’ departure from Slack will hopefully be a fruitful venture for both her and Bumble, but it does shine a light on a potentially delicate situation. With Dresser now taking on the role and moving up her own career ladder, investors will already be peering intently at the magnifying glass.
Slack and their business choices will definitely be closely observed as they wait for what Salesforce’s biggest acquisition will do next, and with Denise now at the forefront, it’s only a matter of time.