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At Salesforce, a CEO Shift from Benioff to Taylor Draws Near

Salesforce’s Bret Taylor has told confidantes he expects to be named CEO of the company, replacing its iconic founder, Marc Benioff, who has spent two decades in that role. Will such a change help Salesforce remake its reputation for putting sales and marketing above product development?

Salesforce's Bret Taylor (left) and Marc Benioff. Photos by Bloomberg. Art by Mike Sullivan
Salesforce's Bret Taylor (left) and Marc Benioff. Photos by Bloomberg. Art by Mike Sullivan
Oct. 7, 2021 6:01 AM PDT

What will Salesforce look like when its co-founder and CEO, Marc Benioff, finally passes the baton to someone else?

The tech industry may get to find out sooner rather than later. In recent months, the company’s No. 2 executive, Bret Taylor, has confided to people close to him that he expects to be promoted to CEO of Salesforce soon, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter. That promotion, if it happens, would represent the most significant leadership change in the company’s history. Benioff has led Salesforce for the past 20 years, transforming it into a cloud software giant with a market value of nearly $270 billion.

The changing of the guard at Salesforce could bring significant changes. Benioff is credited with turning Salesforce into a sales and marketing machine, known for extravagant events like its annual Dreamforce customer conference in San Francisco with accompanying concerts by Metallica and other bands.

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