- After about a year in the position
- Praise for Taylor
- Dual Chief Executive Officer role eliminated
- Marc Benioff becomes sole Chief Executive Officer
- Taylor said 81 words
(exechange) — San Francisco, California, November 30, 2022 — Bret Taylor, co-chief executive of Salesforce, leaves his position. As announced by Salesforce Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, Bret Taylor leaves his post as co-chief executive officer at the cloud-based software company, after about a year in the role, effective January 31, 2023.
The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.2 years. Around 12% of CEOs left their posts within two years. This is according to data collected by CEO-exit research firm exechange.
exechange tracks CEO departures at the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., examines the reasons CEOs leave and determines the Push‑out Score™, a measure of pressure on departing chief executives on a scale of 0 to 10.
Salesforce eliminates the dual Chief Executive Officer role. Marc Benioff will be sole Chief Executive Officer.
“To return to my entrepreneurial roots”
Bret Taylor’s departure from the Co-CEO post is explained as follows. Taylor said: “After a lot of reflection, I’ve decided to return to my entrepreneurial roots. Salesforce has never been more relevant to customers, and with its best-in-class management team and the company executing on all cylinders, now is the right time for me to step away.”
The three most common reasons given for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (24.6% of cases), reference to a planned succession (17.4%) and the statement that now was the right time for a change (9%), according to exechange data. Other reasons given for CEO departures included pursuit of other opportunities (6.2% of cases), personal reasons (3.4%) and conduct issues (2.5%). Rather rarely mentioned departure reasons are health problems (2.2% of cases), career change (2.2%), time with family (0.9%), disagreement (0.6%) and death (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.2% of cases, no reason was given.
Precise information regarding Bret Taylor’s future plans was not immediately available.
Salesforce said: “Bret Taylor will step down as Vice Chair and Co-CEO of Salesforce, effective January 31, 2023.”
Salesforce further said: “Bret Taylor has given notice that he will resign from his position as the Company’s Co-CEO and Vice Chair of the Company’s Board of Directors, effective as of January 31, 2023.”
Generally, resignations are seen as formally voluntary departures. Still, CEOs may also be pressured to resign. In fact, 76% of the time “resign” was used in corporate announcements, the CEO departure was associated with above-average pressure, exechange data shows.
Share price decline since November 2021
The announcement follows a decline in Salesforce Inc.’s share price of 50% since November 2021. November 2021 is the month in which Taylor’s tenure as Co-CEO began.
In the position of Co-CEO since 2021
Bret Taylor became Co-CEO of the Company in 2021.
Bret Taylor has served as Vice Chair of the Board and Co-Chief Executive Officer since November 2021.
Prior to this, he served as the Company’s President and Chief Operating Officer from December 2019 to November 2021, President and Chief Product Officer from November 2017 to December 2019, and President, Quip from August 2016 to November 2017.
Taylor joined Salesforce through the acquisition of Quip, Inc., a business collaboration software company, where he was co-founder and served as Chief Executive Officer from September 2012 to August 2016.
Previously, Taylor served as Chief Technology Officer of Facebook, Inc., a social network, from August 2009 to July 2012 and Chief Executive Officer of FriendFeed, Inc., a social network, from October 2007 to August 2009.
Taylor served on the Board of Directors of Twitter, Inc., where he was Chairman of the Board. Within the past five years, he also served on the Board of Directors of Axon Enterprise, Inc., formerly known as TASER International, Inc.
Taylor received his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.
At the time of Bret Taylor’s appointment as Co-Chief Executive Officer at Salesforce, Marc Benioff had stated: “Bret is a phenomenal industry leader who has been instrumental in creating incredible success for our customers and driving innovation throughout our company. He has been my trusted friend for years, and I couldn’t be happier to welcome him as Co-CEO. We’re in a new world and Salesforce has never been more relevant or strategic for our customers. Together, Bret and I will lead Salesforce through our next chapter, while living our shared values of trust, customer success, innovation and equality for all.”
At the time of Bret Taylor’s appointment as Co-Chief Executive Officer at Salesforce, Taylor had said: “I’m grateful that Marc and our Board have put their faith in me to help lead Salesforce through our next chapter. Marc has been my mentor, my greatest supporter and my trusted friend for years. Partnering with him to lead the company he co-founded 22 years ago is an enormous privilege. I’m thankful for our Salesforce employees, our Trailblazers, our customers, and all of our stakeholders who help us make our company and our world a better place.”
81 words by Bret Taylor
In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Salesforce Inc., Bret Taylor received praise.
Bret Taylor said 81 words in the official leadership-change announcement.
“Six fantastic years”
Bret Taylor stated: “I am grateful for six fantastic years at Salesforce. Marc was my mentor well before I joined Salesforce and the opportunity to partner with him to lead the most important software company in the world is career-defining. After a lot of reflection, I’ve decided to return to my entrepreneurial roots. Salesforce has never been more relevant to customers, and with its best-in-class management team and the company executing on all cylinders, now is the right time for me to step away.”
Over the past 12 months, 26% of all outgoing CEOs remained silent in the departure announcement, according to data compiled by exechange. Departing CEOs who did make a statement said an average of 111 words. The longest statement was 382 words, and the shortest statement was 23 words. Statistically, management changes are associated with high pressure when outgoing CEOs provide conspicuously short, excessively long or no explanations of their move, according to exechange data. In contrast, leadership transitions are statistically associated with low pressure when departing CEOs speak more about their successors than their successes.
31% of CEOs are forced out or fired
When CEO departures are announced, exechange determines the Push-out Score on a scale of 0 to 10 to assess how likely it is that the chief executive was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position.
Of the 322 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (November 30, 2021, to November 29, 2022), the average Push-out Score was 5.5, according to exechange data. References to conduct issues, disagreements and irregularities lead to the highest Push-out Scores. When time with family, performance issues or personal reasons were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.
Around 31% of the CEO departure events from the past 12 months received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher.
In other words, in the past 12 months, three in 10 departing CEOs were forced out, fired or stepped down under extreme pressure.
Pressure in the information technology sector substantially above average
Some industries are under generally higher pressure than others, and CEOs are feeling the strain. In the past 12 months, the communication, consumer staples and health care sectors showed the highest average Push-out Scores. By contrast, pressure on CEOs was lowest in the real estate, industrials and financials sectors, as measured by average Push-out Scores.
In the information technology sector, which includes Salesforce Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 6.1, which is substantially above the average.
In the information technology sector, 17 exiting CEOs received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher over the past 12 months, indicating that they were forced out or stepped down under extreme pressure.
Push-out Score for Bret Taylor’s move determined
The Push-out Score regarding Bret Taylor’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.
exechange reached out to Salesforce and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.
Read the full story in the exechange report 49.2022 ($).