Salesforce.com Inc. named Chief Operating Officer Bret Taylor as co-CEO with co-founder and Chairman Marc Benioff, formalizing a structure that had been taking shape over the past year.
Benioff will continue as board chairman of Salesforce, which is the top maker of cloud customer-relations software and one of the world’s 35 biggest companies by market value. Taylor was also named vice chair just a day after he was appointed Twitter Inc.’s independent board chairman.
“Bret is a phenomenal industry leader who has been instrumental in creating incredible success for our customers and driving innovation throughout our company,” Benioff said Tuesday in a statement. “He has been my trusted friend for years, and I couldn’t be happier to welcome him as co-CEO.”
Taylor, 41, had been seen as the most likely successor to Benioff since co-CEO Keith Block left the company in February 2020. Taylor had been promoted to president and COO in December 2019 and in light of Block’s departure took on more of the company’s day-to-day operations. For example, the head of the Tableau division, Mark Nelson, reports to Taylor. Adam Selipsky, who led that unit before leaving to run Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud unit, had reported to Benioff. Under the previous co-CEO system, Benioff had focused on strategic planning and had more time for his political and philanthropic initiatives.
“It has been well telegraphed and planned,” said Pat Walravens, an analyst at JMP Securities. “No. 2, it is Marc Benioff’s company and I wouldn’t expect him to fade away anytime soon. That’s important because he’s had really good product instincts for almost 20 years now.”