Salesforce just promoted its top salesman to the title of co-CEO

SalesforceSalesforce co-CEO Keith Block
  • Salesforce COO Keith Block has been promoted to co-CEO, serving in the role alongside founder Marc Benioff.
  • Otherwise, not much else seems to be changing: Benioff remains chairman of the board, and Block will keep his own board seat.
  • Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris will be joining the board, too.
  • Notably, Oracle – Salesforce’s biggest rival – has two CEOs, too.

Since its founding in 1999, Salesforce has only had one chief executive: Marc Benioff, the bombastic ex-protege of Oracle’s Larry Ellison, who led the cloud software company to its present market valuation of $US105 billion.

Now, there will be two, as the company announces that Keith Block, formerly the chief operating officer, has been promoted to co-CEO of Salesforce. That puts him on an even keel to Benioff, as Block will now report straight to Salesforce’s board of directors.

“This announcement really reflects how Salesforce is run today, which is that Keith and I over the last five years have developed a very strong partnership,” Benioff told Fortune.

Block came to Salesforce from Oracle, seen as its biggest competitor, in 2012. It was seen as a big coup for Salesforce, as Block was widely credited as one of the top salesmen in the enterprise software market, and a major player at Oracle. At Salesforce, Block helped the company close more deals with larger customers than ever before.

It’s not common for a tech company of any size to have two chief executives. However, it’s noteworthy that Oracle itself has a similar arrangement, with Mark Hurd and Safra Catz currently serving as co-CEOs of the database giant.

In addition to this shuffle in the executive ranks, Salesforce co-founder and chief technology officer Parker Harris has been appointed to the company’s board of directors. Block will continue to serve on the board of directors, and Benioff will remain as Chairman of the Board.

Shares of Salesforce were flat in after-hours trading immediately following the announcement.

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