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Marc Benioff, who co-founded the cloud software company in 1999, will once again take the helm on his own, Salesforce said yesterday, according to reports.

Taylor joined Salesforce in 2016 when he sold his productivity software startup, Quip, to Salesforce, and played a key role in Salesforce’s $27.1 billion acquisition of Slack, the largest deal the company has ever made.

Exactly one year ago, Taylor, 42, was promoted from his position as president and chief operating officer at Salesforce. Benioff described Taylor at the time as “an extraordinary industry leader who has created incredible success for our customers and driven innovation across the company.”

Given the speed with which he was promoted and the trust he enjoyed with Benioff and the board, his departure was a surprise. Two months ago, Benioff and Taylor were together at the company’s “Power of Dreams” conference in San Francisco.

The resignation statement also raised doubts about Benioff’s ability to work with people in the same position as him. About three years ago, former Oracle executive Keith Block also resigned as co-CEO of Salesforce, just 18 months after he was promoted from chief operating officer to the position.

Shortly after Block became co-CEO, Benioff told the press that he liked the idea of having someone else share the top job so they could have a “divide and conquer strategy” and so he could spend his time investing, philanthropizing and training other business leaders.

It’s been a busy year for Taylor.

Taylor was chairman of Twitter before Elon Musk completed his acquisition of the company last month. In a September interview, Taylor said the deal “didn’t get talked about a lot” at Salesforce customer meetings. Taylor hasn’t tweeted since Oct. 26.

“I’m grateful for the six wonderful years I spent at Salesforce,” Taylor said in a statement Wednesday, “and Mark has been a mentor to me since before I joined Salesforce. The opportunity to work with him and co-lead the world’s most important software company has been defining for my career. After much deliberation, I decided to return to my entrepreneurial roots. salesforce has never been more relevant to its customers, it has a top-notch management team, the company is working well, and now is the perfect time for me to leave.”

Prior to Quip, Taylor sold FriendFeed to Facebook and helped create Google Maps.

Taylor received $22.8 million in total compensation in fiscal 2022, most of which came from stock awards, according to the company’s most recent proxy filing. That figure is up from $13.9 million last year. Salesforce employees earned a median salary of $181.612 million last year, the filing said.

As of Jan. 31, Taylor held about $80 million in unvested stock, most of which came from restricted stock he received when Salesforce acquired Quip. The restricted stock “is payable in equal quarterly installments through August 2023, subject to Mr. Taylor’s continued employment with the company,” the proxy filing said.

Also on Wednesday, Salesforce reported better-than-expected third-quarter results. But the company’s shares fell 6 percent in after-hours trading.

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James Lopez
James Lopezhttps://www.techgoing.com
James Lopez joined Techgoing as Senior News Editor in 2022. He's been a tech blogger since before the word was invented, and will never log off.

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