Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block steps down, with cofounder Marc Benioff returning to sole CEO role

Salesforce
  • Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block has stepped down from his role as co-CEO about a year and a half after taking the role in 2018.
  • Marc Benioff will again be the company’s sole CEO, while Block will stay on as an adviser to him through February 25, 2021.
  • His departure was a surprise, as many industry watchers saw him as a prospective successor to Benioff one day.
  • The announcement came as Salesforce released quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street estimates. The stock fell about 2% in after-hours trading in the wake of the announcement.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block has stepped down from his role about a year and half after he took it on in summer 2018, the company announced on Tuesday. Cofounder Marc Benioff is once again the sole CEO and chairman of the cloud-software giant.

Salesforce shares fell over 2%, or about $US4, on the news.

Before he became the co-CEO of Salesforce, Block had served as chief operating officer. He joined the company in 2013 after a 25-year career at Oracle. Block was seen by industry watchers as a leading candidate to succeed Benioff in the event that he ever stepped back from his daily duties at the company.

Wall Street analysts saw Block’s experience leading enterprise tech companies as key to the company’s growth as it looks to relatively new business lines like Marketing Cloud and Platform. He will stay on as an adviser to Benioff until February 25, 2021.

“It’s been my greatest honour to lead the team with Marc that has more than quadrupled Salesforce from $US4 billion of revenue when I joined in 2013 to over $US17 billion last year,” Block said in a statement. “We are now a global enterprise company, focused on industries, and have an ecosystem that is the envy of the industry.”

Block’s statement did not give a reason for the move, but he said he was excited for the next chapter.

The announcement came as Salesforce released quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street estimates. Revenue increased 35% from a year prior.

The company also said it acquired Vlocity, a provider of industry-specific cloud and mobile software that is built on the Salesforce platform, for $US1.33 billion. Vlocity has raised $US162.80 million to date and is valued at over $US1 billion, according to PitchBook.

Here is what Salesforce reported for its fourth quarter of 2020:

  • Revenue: $US4.85 billion. Wall Street expected $US4.75 billion.
  • Earnings per share (adjusted): $US0.66. Analysts forecast $US0.55.
  • EPS (GAAP): Loss of $US0.28 per share. Analysts forecast $US0.02 per share
  • EPS (adjusted, next quarter): $US0.70 to $US0.71 estimated. Analysts predicted $US0.68.
  • Revenue (next quarter): $US4.87 billion to $US4.88 billion estimated. Wall Street expected $US4.83 billion.

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