The CEO of the startup Salesforce bought for $390 million two years ago is suddenly leaving

Screen Shot 2016 08 24 at 10.02.58 AMYoutube/DreamforceSalesforceIQ CEO Steve Loughlin

Steve Loughlin, the cofounder of RelateIQ, is leaving the company just two years after selling his startup for $390 million to Salesforce.

Loughlin has been serving as the CEO of SalesforceIQ, an updated and rebranded version of RelateIQ that Salesforce launched last year. It’s unclear what exactly his next job will be, but Salesforce confirmed it will be in venture capital.

“Steve is leaving Salesforce to pursue other opportunities in venture capital. We appreciate his contributions to the success of Salesforce and wish him the best in his future endeavours,” Salesforce said in an email.

According to Forbes, which first reported his resignation within its big profile of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Loughlin was also in charge of running the Einstein project, the upcoming new artificial intelligence product Salesforce is working on. The new Einstein product is expected to launch in less than two months at Salesforce’s big annual conference, Dreamforce.

Loughlin’s sudden departure is the latest in a string of executive step downs at Salesforce over the past year. The move is particularly surprising given how Salesforce has been putting more spotlight on Loughlin and SalesforceIQ lately, including added exposure at Dreamforce.

Besides Loughlin, Salesforce saw Tod Nielsen, the head of its platform business, and Adam Bosworth, who was leading its new IoT Cloud, leave for other positions. It’s also lost its top sales guy, Jim Steele, a little over a year ago.

There could be a lot of reasons for all these departures. It could simply be burn out from work, or just Salesforce executives being in high-demand by others given the company’s superb growth over the past several years.

In any case, it doesn’t seem to hurt Salesforce much, as the company has been pilling up a bunch of young talent on its executive bench lately. As the Forbes article points out, it already has longtime Stanford AI specialist Ricahrd Socher, who sold his startup MetaMind to Salesforce earlier this year, to fill in for Loughlin.

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