Bret Taylor, president and chief product officer for Salesforce.com Inc., speaks during the opening keynote of the 2019 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco on Nov. 19, 2019. Salesforce’s annual software conference, where it introduces new products and discusses its commitment to social causes, was interrupted for the second year in a row by protests against the company’s work with the U.S. government.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Salesforce on Tuesday promoted Bret Taylor to the role of co-CEO, alongside Marc Benioff, who co-founded the company in 1999.
Taylor joined Salesforce in 2016, through the $412 million acquisition of his productivity software start-up Quip, which he co-founded four years earlier. Taylor quickly moved up the ranks at Salesforce and now participates in quarterly earnings calls with analysts.
“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, in a press release announcing the promotion. “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.”
Before starting Quip, Taylor helped create Google Maps, sold social networking start-up FriendFeed to Facebook, and spent three years as Facebook’s technology chief. Taylor sits on Twitter’s board of directors, and on Monday was named chairman as part of Jack Dorsey’s departure as CEO.
Salesforce is the largest employer in San Francisco, drawing tens of thousands of attendees each year to its Dreamforce conference, where Benioff expounds on business trends. Benioff regularly engages in politics, directs money to philanthropic causes and, with his wife, Lynne, acquired ownership of Time Magazine from Meredith Corp in 2018.
The last time Benioff named another CEO of Salesforce came in 2018, when former Oracle executive Keith Block became co-CEO alongside Benioff. But Block stepped down less than two years later, and Benioff removed the “co” from his title.
Taylor told people he was expecting to get the CEO job soon, the Information reported on Oct. 7.
Salesforce has expanded beyond its core of providing cloud-based software for sales reps, with products for customer service, marketing and commerce. Acquisitions of MuleSoft, Tableau and most recently Slack have also helped Salesforce grow.
Last year, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield told Taylor that Slack was interested in acquiring Quip from Salesforce. Taylor told Butterfield that wasn’t happening, but he later brought up the idea of Salesforce buying Slack, according to a regulatory filing. The $27.1 billion deal closed in July.