Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield to step down

6 Dec 2022

Stewart Butterfield. Image: Slack

Lidiane Jones, a cloud executive at parent company Salesforce, will take over from Butterfield next month.

Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder and CEO of Slack, is stepping down from his role and leaving parent company Salesforce in early January.

This comes less than a week after it was announced that Bret Taylor will be stepping down as vice-chair and co-CEO of Salesforce early next year.

However, Butterfield told employees in an internal Slack message that his departure is unrelated to Taylor’s, according to Axios. “Planning has been in the works for several months. Just weird timing!”

He will be succeeded by long-time Salesforce cloud executive Lidiane Jones.

“I am proud to be named Slack’s new CEO, accepting the baton from the thoughtful and innovative founder Stewart,” Jones tweeted.

“Simply put, there would be no Slack without Stewart. He’s built an incredible company that has redefined modern collaboration with a team grounded in humility and innovation.”

Two other Slack executives are also reportedly leaving along with Butterfield: chief product officer Tamar Yehoshua and senior vice-president Jonathan Prince.

Instant messaging tool Slack was co-founded by Butterfield nearly a decade ago, emerging from a gaming venture that didn’t take off.

In late 2020, Salesforce agreed to acquire Slack for nearly $28bn to build a unified service for the all-digital workforce. Butterfield also co-founded Flickr, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2005.

Throughout the pandemic, Slack saw a huge increase in demand as more teams went online or moved to hybrid working.

“As we look forward, we are grounded by Slack’s mission: to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive,” Jones added on Twitter.

“We have so much opportunity to bring the digital HQ to every Salesforce customer and many more as we continue to grow together. To the Slack team, I could not be more excited to work with you, and the future is looking bright. Let’s get to building the future of work!”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic