Sequoia Warns Founders of ‘Crucible Moment,’ Advises How to ‘Avoid the Death Spiral’

Marc Benioff. Photo by Bloomberg.
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Salesforce’s Pretend Co-CEO Arrangement

Photo: Marc Benioff. Photo by Bloomberg.

Marc Benioff has redefined the term co-CEO. As The Information reported earlier today, Bret Taylor, newly named co-CEO of Salesforce, will continue reporting to Benioff, his fellow co-CEO. So instead of the term meaning two leaders on equal terms, it now just means two people who work with each other in a boss-subordinate relationship. At this rate, Salesforce could give the co-CEO label to its entire executive team—if not to all 57,000 employees.

This is not how things worked for an earlier Salesforce co-CEO, Keith Block, who reported to the board. Taylor’s new title appears to be a complete sham, a PR-driven move that perhaps was meant to superficially address the No. 2 executive’s ambitions of becoming the top dog. As we reported in October, Taylor had told people close to him that he expected to be promoted to CEO soon. He did get oversight of the executive management team, who previously reported directly to Benioff, but that won’t mean much if they know Benioff is still the ultimate decision maker.

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