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Salesforce Names Co-CEO: Block, Benioff Split Executive Role


Salesforce has promoted COO Keith Block to co-CEO, essentially splitting the role with cloud and SaaS industry luminary Marc Benioff.

As co-CEOs, Benioff leads Salesforce's vision and innovation across technology, marketing, stakeholder engagement and culture. Block leads the company's growth strategy, execution and operations. Both executives are board members, and Benioff remains chairman.

Marc Benioff Builds A Cloud Giant

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff
Co-CEO Marc Benioff

For nearly two decades, Benioff has been a poster child for on-demand software, subscription services, and the resulting SaaS and cloud waves. An Oracle veteran,Benioff co-founded Salesforce in 1999 with Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff and Frank Dominguez. (Harris, by the way, remains CTO and was named to Salseforce's board today.)

Salesforce  went public in June 2004 -- at a time when then-IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano insisted that CIOs would hold tight to on-premises applications.

Benioff's vision for on-demand computing proved far more accurate. Salesforce's market cap has grown from under $1 billion in 2004 to more than $107 billion today. Moreover, the company has branched out into an app store, IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other cloud services. Benioff has widely credited Steve Jobs -- multiple times -- for the app store idea.

Who Is Salesforce Co-CEO Keith Block?

Block served as Salesforce's vice chairman, president and as a director since joining the company in June 2013, and most recently served as the company's COO since February 2016. Earlier, he was  Oracle’s executive vice president of North America Sales and Consulting. He began his career at Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior consultant.

Explaining Block's shift to the co-CEO post, Benioff said:

"Keith has been my trusted partner in running Salesforce for the past five years, and I'm thrilled to welcome him as co-CEO. Keith has outstanding operational expertise and corporate leadership experience, and I could not be happier for his promotion and this next level of our partnership."

Together, the executives intend to push Salesforce to $23 billion in revenues by Fiscal Year 2022.

Salesforce isn't the only tech giant with two CEOs. Key rivals Oracle has co-CEOs, and SAP had a co-CEO role through May 2014.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.