Salesforce.com’s CEO Marc Benioff has something to say about Steve Ballmer’s decision to leave Microsoft: You’re right, Steve. Time to go.
Benioff was commenting on an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, where Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, described his decision to retire:
“Maybe I’m an emblem of an old era, and I have to move on,” the 57-year-old Mr. Ballmer says, pausing as his eyes well up. “As much as I love everything about what I’m doing,” he says, “the best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is a new leader who will accelerate change.”
Benioff agrees and says the problem isn’t just with Microsoft.
“The world has changed. The companies that are struggling in the market today have not gone cloud. They have not gone social. They have not gone mobile. They are still trying to sell the same old stuff,” Benioff said to analysts during a quarterly conference call.
Benioff didn’t name names but said there’s a whole bunch of CEOs, particularly in enterprise, who have been in the corner office for eons.
We can think of a few: Oracle’s Larry Ellison (36 years), Cisco’s John Chambers (nearly 19 years) and EMC’s Joe Tucci (almost 14 years). To some extent, the list could even include IBM’s Ginni Rometty, who has been at IBM since 1981, although she’s only been CEO for about two years.
Ballmer admitted he’s “too representative of the past,” Benioff says. “For a lot of these companies, that quote could be about them.”
Interestingly, Benioff isn’t against ageing CEOs per se, just against CEOs that don’t adopt new technology with the times. He’d like to see Bill Gates come back as Microsoft’s CEO, something Gates has said he’s not going to do.
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