Menu
Who is Keith Block, the new Salesforce co-CEO?

Who is Keith Block, the new Salesforce co-CEO?

The Salesforce board has elevated its former COO Keith Block to the role of co-CEO alongside founder Marc Benioff, here's how he got there

Keith Block (Salesforce)

Keith Block (Salesforce)

Credit: Salesforce

In June 2012 Keith Block, the hard-nosed executive vice president of sales for North America at database giant Oracle, was let go from the company after messages and emails revealed that he had bashed company president Mark Hurd over the purchase of Sun Microsystems.

One year later Marc Benioff, the CEO at SaaS CRM giant Salesforce, hired Block as president and vice chairman, hailing the executive at the time as "the best sales executive" in enterprise software history.

On 7 August 2018, the board of directors at Salesforce elevated Block to the role of co-CEO alongside founder Marc Benioff, marking the culmination of a rapid rise from being fired at Oracle to being the leader-in-waiting at one of the biggest technology companies on the planet.

Both Benioff and Block will report directly to the board of directors.

Speaking about the promotion as part of a press release, Benioff said: "Keith has been my trusted partner in running Salesforce for the past five years, and I'm thrilled to welcome him as co-CEO.

"Keith has outstanding operational expertise and corporate leadership experience, and I could not be happier for his promotion and this next level of our partnership."

The co-CEOs will have fairly neatly defined roles as leaders of the SaaS company.

Benioff will continue to perform a role he has leant into over the past few years: leading Salesforce's vision and innovation across technology, marketing, stakeholder engagement and, perhaps most importantly, culture.

Block will also play to his strengths, leading the company's growth strategy, execution and operations.

This change in management structure naturally brings with it questions regarding Benioff's role at a company he founded back in 1999.

Like his once-mentor and sometimes-adversary Larry Ellison has done at Oracle, he appears to be taking a back seat from day-to-day operations at the company in order to become its cultural figurehead.

Benioff will look to embody and extol the values of the company and also free up his time to pursue philanthropic ventures, while Block has proven himself to be a trusted steward of the company commercially.

Block comes from Lexington, Massachusetts and is a massive fan of the Boston Red Sox baseball team - he graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1984 with a M.S. & B.S. in management and policy before starting his career as a consultant at Booz Allen. He joined Oracle in 1986, quickly rising through the ranks before parting ways in 2012.

Since joining Salesforce he has served as a vice chairman, president and a director, and became chief operating officer in February 2016.

Since then Block has been busy aggressively moving Salesforce into new geographies and industry verticals, packaging up its technology and services specifically for the financial services and health industries.

Block's role had been to chart Salesforce to become a $10 billion run-rate company, a target that was reached and then surpassed in its Q2 2018 results.

Now he has been rewarded for these efforts with the top job, the next thing will be to reach $20 billion.

(Reporting by Scott Carey, Computerworld UK)


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags salesforce

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments