Salesforce Co-CEO Keith Block steps down; Benioff to be sole CEO

Keith Block, co-chief executive officer of Inc., speaks during the opening keynote at the DreamForce conference in San Francisco, Sept. 25, 2018.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Salesforce stock initially sank 3% in extended trading on Tuesday after the company said co-CEO Keith Block is stepping down. Marc Benioff, the other co-CEO, becomes sole CEO.

Block joined Salesforce from Oracle as president and vice chairman in 2013, he was promoted to operating chief in 2016, and he became Salesforce’s co-CEO alongside Benioff in August 2018. He will stay on as an adviser, Salesforce said in a statement.

“It’s been my greatest honor to lead the team with Marc that has more than quadrupled Salesforce from $4 billion of revenue when I joined in 2013 to over $17 billion last year,” Block was quoted as saying in the statement. “We are now a global enterprise company, focused on industries, and have an ecosystem that is the envy of the industry, and I’m so grateful to our employees, customers, and partners. After a fantastic run I am ready for my next chapter and will stay close to the company as an advisor. Being side-by-side with Marc has been amazing and I’m forever grateful for our friendship and proud of the trajectory the company is on.”

Benioff told CNBC in a profile published in early 2019 that he elevated Block to co-CEO to enable a “divide and conquer strategy” and to give Benioff time to do the things he enjoys. For example, after promoting Block to co-CEO in August 2018, Benioff took two weeks to focus on Proposition C, a legislative effort to generate tax revenue to help San Francisco’s homeless problem.

Block, meanwhile, said in 2018 that the title change was more about formalizing the dynamic of the relationship the two men had developed over the years.

Also on Tuesday Salesforce announced fiscal fourth-quarter earnings.

Additionally, Salesforce said it has agreed to acquired Vlocity, a provider of cloud and mobilie software built atop Salesforce, for $1.33 billion.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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