Salesforce co-CEO heads for exit doors

‘I am grateful for six fantastic years at Salesforce,' Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor says in a statement.

clock • 3 min read
Salesforce co-CEO heads for exit doors

Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor will exit his role on 31 January 2023, leaving co-founder Marc Benioff as sole CEO, the enterprise applications vendor said in a statement Wednesday.

Taylor spent about a year in the co-CEO role, getting promoted from president and chief operating officer in November. San Francisco-based Salesforce - best known for its customer relationship management (CRM) offerings - also released its third quarter results for fiscal year 2023 Wednesday, covering the quarter that ended 31 October.

CRN has reached out to Salesforce for comment.

"I am grateful for six fantastic years at Salesforce," Taylor said in a statement. "Marc was my mentor well before I joined Salesforce and the opportunity to partner with him to lead the most important software company in the world is career-defining."

Taylor continued: "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."

In a statement, Benioff called Taylor's departure "bittersweet."

"It's bittersweet that Bret has decided to step down as my co-CEO," Benioff said. "He made his mark on Salesforce as an incredible technologist, leader and friend to us all. Bret founded two incredible companies so it's understandable why he wants to return to his entrepreneurial roots. I'm excited to see his next chapter unfold, as I'll always be his biggest champion and he'll always be part of the Salesforce ‘Ohana.'" Ohana is the Hawaiian word for extended family.

Taylor joined Salesforce in 2016 with the $750m acquisition of Quip. He previously worked at Facebook for about three years, leaving in 2012 with the title of chief technology officer. He had been board chairman of Twitter until Elon Musk took over the social media company last month and subsequently dissolved the board, according to CNN.

In fiscal year 2022, Taylor received total compensation of $22.8m, 125 times that of the median employee. He received about $1m in base pay for the year, about 14 times the base pay for the median Salesforce employee.

Salesforce's earnings report will receive much attention following company leaders' cuts to revenue guidance and description of a measured customer buying environment amid fears of a recession in the United States.

In a statement on its third quarter earnings, Salesforce reported revenue of $7.84bn , up 19 per cent year over year excluding foreign exchange rates. The company has $20.9bn in current remaining performance obligation, up 15 per cent year over year.

The company expects $7.932bn to $8.032bn in fourth quarter revenue, up 12 per cent to 13 per cent year over year. Full fiscal year 2023 revenue guidance is $30.9bn to $31bn, up 20 per cent year over year.

Operating cash flow was $310m, down 23 per cent year over year. Free cash flow was $120m, down 52 per cent year over year.

Salesforce executives will deliver remarks on the earnings at 2pm Pacific today.

Salesforce‘s stock traded at $149.75 a share after hours, down about six per cent from market close.

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