Bret Taylor to step down as Salesforce co-CEO

1 Dec 2022

Bret Taylor. Image: Salesforce

Taylor, the co-creator of Google Maps and co-founder of Quip, said now is the right time to step away from Salesforce as he plans to return to his ‘entrepreneurial roots’.

Salesforce has announced that Bret Taylor will be stepping down as vice-chair and co-CEO of the company early next year.

Taylor will remain in these positions until 31 January 2023. After this, Marc Benioff will be the sole chair and CEO of Salesforce.

A former CTO at Facebook and a co-creator of Google Maps, Taylor was the co-founder and CEO of productivity software company Quip, which was acquired by Salesforce in 2016.

He became the company’s president and chief product officer in 2017, before being named COO in 2019. He was promoted to vice-chair and co-CEO this time last year, just days after he was appointed independent chair of Twitter’s board.

Taylor said the decision to step down came after “a lot of reflection” and he now plans to return to his “entrepreneurial roots”. As well as Quip, Taylor co-founded FriendFeed, which was acquired by Facebook in 2009.

“Salesforce has never been more relevant to customers, and with its best-in-class management team and the company executing on all cylinders, now is the right time for me to step away,” Taylor added.

“I am grateful for six fantastic years at Salesforce. Marc was my mentor well before I joined Salesforce and the opportunity to partner with him to lead the most important software company in the world is career defining.”

Benioff described Taylor as an “incredible technologist, leader and friend” to the company and said his decision to step down is “bittersweet”.

“Bret founded two incredible companies so it’s understandable why he wants to return to his entrepreneurial roots,” Benioff said. “I’m excited to see his next chapter unfold, as I’ll always be his biggest champion and he’ll always be part of the Salesforce ‘Ohana’.”

Salesforce stock dropped by more than 6pc in extended trading after Taylor’s announcement yesterday (30 November), CNBC reports.

The company also released its earnings report for its third quarter. Revenue reached $7.84bn, an increase of 14pc year on year and beating analyst expectations, according to Refinitiv. Salesforce’s operating cash flow went down 23pc year on year to $313m.

“We’re grateful to our customers for their commitment, especially as we help them succeed in this challenging environment,” Benioff said. “There’s never been a more important time for our customers to connect with their customers in a whole new way.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic