In what can being characterized only as a stunning turn of events, Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor announced his resignation yesterday, claiming he wanted to get back to his entrepreneurial roots. Whatever his reasons, it came as a shock to everyone reporting on this company, and it’s safe to say that few, if any, saw this coming — even his mentor, Salesforce co-founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff.
Taylor is a Silicon Valley mover and shaker. He has worked for large companies such as Google and Facebook. Until recently, he served as chairman of the board at Twitter, helping to guide the social media giant through this turbulent year of Musk-induced madness until its new owner dissolved the board last month.
He also has small business experience as a former CEO at FriendFeed, an early social networking organization, and Quip, which bought Salesforce in 2016 for a whopping $750 million.
Taylor and Benioff seemed to hit it off immediately after Quip joined Salesforce, and the relationship was (and apparently continues to be) deep and genuine. As a result, Taylor raced through the ranks of the CRM giant to co-chairman and co-CEO in just four years.
When Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO at Amazon last year after leading the company since its inception in 1994, we speculated that Benioff could be the next executive to make that move. The logical choice, the heir to the throne, seemed to be Taylor, who was about to take over when Benioff decided to spend more time in Hawaii.
Instead, we let Taylor walk away and Benioff is in charge for the foreseeable future.