Confirmed: Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield steps down in January

Confirmed: Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield steps down in January

Just days after Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor announced his resignation, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield announced he would step down in January. Business Insider first reported the news. TechCrunch confirmed the news to Salesforce via email.

The company also announced that Lidiane Jones, who served as executive vice president and general manager of digital experience clouds at Salesforce, would take over from Butterfield, leaving a succession plan that had apparently been lacking when Taylor surprised everyone by resigning last week.

“Stewart is an incredible leader who has built an incredible and beloved business in Slack. He helped lead the successful integration of Slack into Salesforce and today Slack is integrated into the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform,” the company said in a statement.

The statement went on to discuss the succession plan: “Stewart was also instrumental in selecting Lidiane Jones as Slack’s next CEO to lead it through its next chapter. Lidiane has a strong background in client and enterprise technology and has been a Salesforce executive for over three years. We’re grateful for Stewart and thrilled for Lidiane as she takes the reins of Slack.

She had this to say about her new job in a tweet today:

Butterfield came to Salesforce when the company bought Slack for $27 billion in late 2020. This comes on top of news on Thursday that Tableau CEO Mark Nelson would also be moving on. It makes you wonder what’s going on in the Salesforce C suite.

Brent Leary, founder and principal analyst at CRM Essentials, which has been monitoring Salesforce since its inception, says this could explain why Benioff looked so upset during last week’s earnings call, even beyond the initial shock. of Taylor’s announcement. “My first thought was that things like this usually happen in threes: first was Bret, next was Tableau CEO Mark Nelson, and now this. But with Bret being the architect of the acquisition of Slack for $27 billion and now the founder/CEO announcing his departure within days of each other, you feel like that was the other shoe to drop in. And that news must have been another reason why Marc was so visibly shaken last week when he announced Bret was stepping down,” Leary told TechCrunch.

Butterfield began his entrepreneurial journey when he helped found photo-sharing site Flickr in 2004. He sold that company to Yahoo a year later (the current version of Yahoo owns this post). He will later find a game called Glitch. The game didn’t go anywhere, but the company’s internal communications platform would later become Slack, the company he named around 2013. It quickly gained popularity and eventually went public in 2019 before Salesforce bought it in late 2020.

He told TechCrunch at the time of the sale that he originally approached Taylor about buying Quip from Salesforce. Instead, this discussion led Salesforce to buy his company.

“I actually spoke to Bret at the start of the pandemic to see if they wanted to sell us Quip because I thought it would be good for us, and I didn’t really know what their plans were. [for it]. He said he would get back to me, and then he got back to me about six months later,” Butterfield said.

At that point, the conversation shifted and the companies began a series of discussions that ultimately led to Salesforce acquiring Slack.

Now Butterfield is walking away. Maybe the timing of all these announcements is a huge coincidence, but it sure makes me want to bank right now. Salesforce has always had a wide range of executives, but that talent pool has thinned more than a little after these three successive announcements.

Butterfield was not the only one to take the opportunity to leave. Additionally, chief marketing officer Tamar Yehoshua and senior vice president of marketing, brand and communications Jonathan Prince are also leaving the company next month.

Salesforce stock is down almost 5% this morning.

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