Bret Taylor, the likely successor to Marc Benioff, has quietly taken over important parts of Salesforce's business — here's who reports to whom at the highest levels of the company

  • Bret Taylor is widely rumored to be Marc Benioff’s eventual successor at the $195 billion company.
  • Taylor now has a sizeable list of C-suite executives reporting directly to him, the latest sign of his ascension.
  • Insider compiled a list of execs who report to either Benioff or Taylor. 
  • Do you work at Salesforce? Contact this reporter via email at [email protected] or Signal at 925-364-4258. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

While Salesforce cofounder and CEO Marc Benioff remains the face of the company, another top exec has recently joined him at the forefront: Bret Taylor. 

Taylor become chief operating officer in late 2019, having quickly risen through the ranks after Salesforce bought his collaboration startup Quip in 2016. And all signs point to his continued ascension: 

He was the mastermind behind Salesforce’s $27.7 billion deal to buy Slack and is being prepped for a promotion to a chief executive role, Reuters reported in March.

While Benioff still has a greater number of direct reports, a growing list of C-suite executives now report directly to Taylor, including newly minted chief product officer David Schmaier and new Tableau CEO Mark Nelson.

Insider consulted with multiple people close to the company to put together a list of which top execs are reporting to Benioff and which answer to Taylor. 

The list doesn’t include direct reports in operational roles (like chief of staff or security chief), but it covers all of the other top positions and paints a picture of Taylor’s growing responsibilities, as well as how he’s begun quietly taking over important parts of the business. 

Based on the list, Taylor specializes in product strategy, marketing, and acquisitions while Benioff’s focus is pulled towards sales and customer support: 

Bret Taylor, chief operating officer: reports to Benioff

Bret Taylor is arguably the most well known executive at Salesforce besides CEO Marc Benioff. He is also widely considered to be the Benioff’s eventual successor.

Taylor quickly rose through the ranks after Salesforce acquired his collaboration startup Quip for $750 million in 2016. He immediately began reporting to Benioff and then, in 2017, made the leap to Salesforce’s C-suite as chief product officer.

In late 2019, Taylor became the president and chief operating officer and now has significant influence over the future of Salesforce, overseeing global product vision, engineering, security, marketing, and communications.

Taylor is the key leader behind Salesforce’s product strategy.

“Across our portfolio — across sales, customer service, marketing, e-commerce — we’ve really tried to work on digital technologies that are relevant in an era where a huge percentage of your customer and employee interactions are digital,” Taylor told Insider in a July 2020 interview.

Amy Weaver, chief financial officer: reports to Benioff

Amy Weaver replaced Mark Hawkins as chief financial officer on February 1. As CFO, she leads the company’s global finance organization and is a member of the company’s executive committee, reporting to Marc Benioff.

Weaver joined Salesforce in its legal department in 2013 and served as its chief legal officer for about a year before making the switch to finance. She has played a key role in helping Salesforce land big customer deals, including handling complex financial transactions.

She has also advocated for a number of causes relating to diversity and inclusion inside and outside of the company. When Indiana passed a controversial law that would allow businesses to deny service to same-sex couples in 2015, Weaver was part of a team at Salesforce that worked to pass an amendment to the legislation. She also helped Salesforce’s effort to address its gender pay gap.

Ryan Aytay, chief business officer: reports to Benioff

Ryan Aytay was promoted to the C-suite last June and now manages “strategic projects” for CEO Benioff, which includes the firm’s partnerships with companies like Google, Amazon, IBM, Cisco, and Facebook. 

That’s in addition to his role as co-CEO of Quip, where he leads sales, strategy, marketing, and customer success. 

Aytay’s promotion came after he helped organize Salesforce’s effort to acquire and donate over $25 million-worth of personal protective equipment to hospitals and agencies at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last March.

He joined Salesforce in 2007 and has worked in various roles focusing on corporate development, M&A, and partnerships, including helping to launch Salesforce’s investment arm. 

Ebony Beckwith, chief philanthropy officer and CEO of the Salesforce Foundation: reports to Benioff

Ebony Beckwith has been at Salesforce for over 11 years, starting in technology business operations in the CIO’s office before transitioning to a philanthropy role in 2014. She has been chief philanthropy officer since 2018 and is responsible for the company’s philanthropic investment strategy, overseeing a global team that manages donations to education and workforce development programs. 

Salesforce is famous for making sure all employees spend one week each year doing volunteer work. Its so-called “1% model dedicates 1% of Salesforce’s equity, employee time, and product back into the community and Beckwith helps find those opportunities. 

“It’s dollars plus action. Philanthropy alone is not going to solve it,” Beckwith previously told Insider. “Philanthropy continues to be a core part of our values, so we’ll continue to give to organizations, but I think it needs to be measured and accompanied by other bold actions.”

She is also currently part of a task force that is implementing steps to address equality and racial justice both inside and outside the company, including more inclusive hiring — in leadership and across the company — and donating money to underserved communities.

Gavin Patterson, chief revenue officer: reports to Benioff

Gavin Patterson was promoted to Salesforce’s chief revenue officer in August 2020, after spending seven months as the head of Salesforce’s international business. He went from leading go-to-market responsibilities internationally to leading the entire global sales organization. All the company’s international leaders still report to him. 

Patterson first joined Salesforce in 2019 as its chairman for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, before being promoted to lead the international business in February 2020.  

He was formerly the CEO at European telecommunications company BT from 2013 to 2019, which Benioff has said is invaluable experience as Salesforce looks to expand into new markets.

Parker Harris, chief technology officer and cofounder: reports to Benioff

Parker Harris has been at Salesforce since the beginning. As cofounder, he helped build the company from the ground up alongside Benioff and is the mastermind behind its product and engineering org.

He’s credited with developing Salesforce’s cloud architecture and generally helping the company stay ahead of the curve technologically.

While Harris is still involved in the company’s technology and innovation initiatives, he oversees less of the day-to-day work. For example, chief engineering officer Srinivas Tallapragada reports to Bret Taylor.

Harris is also often seen as the voice of reason at Salesforce, balancing out Benioff’s boisterous and impassioned strategy. He’s described by many of his peers as humble, kind, and down to earth. 

“I think the legacy is really the company that we built. That’s what makes me happy,” Harris told Business Insider in 2015. “I’m a very simple person, so that’s all I really need.” 

Brent Hyder, chief people officer: reports to Benioff

Brent Hyder is in charge of the team that handles hiring, managing employee’s career trajectories, talent management, and company culture. He joined the company in September 2019 after 15 years at Gap, where he held a similar role. 

“Our employees are the heart of Salesforce’s success, and Brent will play an essential role in enabling us to attract the top talent in our industry and maintain Salesforce’s status as a best place to work,” Benioff said in a statement when Hyder joined.

Additionally, Salesforce’s “office of equality” now sits under Hyder’s organization since last year when Tony Prophet, Salesforce’s chief equality officer, moved from reporting to Benioff to reporting to Hyder and expanded his role to include recruiting.

Prophet previously told Insider that the new reporting structure “fosters the connection between equality and recruiting.” 

Brian Millham, president of Salesforce's customer success group: reports to Benioff

Brian Millham has been at Salesforce since it was founded in 1999. He’s currently the president of Salesforce’s customer success group, which focuses on helping customers implement and use the firm’s products. 

His team also works closely with Salesforce partners, which help customers implement the software. 

Prior to his current role, Millham served in various leadership positions in business development, account management, and sales. He is credited for building Salesforce’s sales team to its current size and scope.

Suzanne DiBianca, executive VP of corporate relations and chief impact officer: reports to Benioff

Suzanne DiBianca’s job is to make sure Salesforce is positively impacting the community around it.

Benioff often champions the idea of stakeholder capitalism — which means companies should serve all stakeholders, not just investors — and DiBianca’s job is to make sure Salesforce is delivering on that.

She runs Salesforce’s sustainability efforts to address and respond to climate change, pushes the company to train and hire military members, and works with Salesforce’s venture capital arm to invest in firms solving issues across education and workforce development, equality, and sustainability.

She has been at the company since 2000 and cofounded Salesforce’s philanthropic arm, the Salesforce Foundation and Salesforce.org. She is credited with creating Salesforce’s famous 1-1-1 corporate philanthropy model.

Tom Berson, chief security advisor: reports to Benioff

Tom Berson is Salesforce’s chief security advisor and an advisory board member on matters of local, national, and international security, according to his LinkedIn and personal website. He has served in that role since the company’s founding in 1999. 

He also runs his own information security consultancy called Anagram Laboratories.

Elizabeth Pinkham, executive VP of global real estate: reports to Benioff

Elizabeth Pinkham has been at Salesforce for over 20 years and played a key role in shaping its growth. In her current role she oversees the company’s real estate strategy and workplace design, including opening Salesforce Towers in San Francisco, London, Tokyo, and Sydney.

She has taken on more responsibility during the coronavirus pandemic, including its efforts to open its 160 offices safely. She works with other executives to weigh government guidance, COVID-19 case levels, and local health system capacity to decide which offices are safe to reopen. Pinkham is also responsible for how Salesforce’s offices will be redesigned both during and after the pandemic.

Salesforce recently said it would give employees options to work remotely more often or permanently even after offices reopen. 

Before she took on her current role in 2016, Pinkham led global events for Salesforce, including managing Salesforce’s iconic annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco since it began in 2003.

Prior to Salesforce, Pinkham worked at Oracle and Sybase in marketing roles.

Alex Dayon, chief strategy officer: reports to Benioff

Alex Dayon is helping Salesforce’s customers through their digital transformations. As chief strategy officer, he leads strategic initiatives and works with customers to shape Salesforce’s product direction as well as their own business transformations. 

He joined Salesforce the way many executives do: via an acquisition. Salesforce acquired his knowledge-base firm, InStranet, in 2008. 

Before his current role, Dayon served as chief product officer from 2016 to 2017, with general roles in the product org before that. Dayon led the growth, expansion, and evolution of Salesforce’s product portfolio, helping add service, marketing, and commerce tools to its flagship sales software.

Dayon is also currently the chairman of an advisory board for Salesforce’s international business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, which was the company’s fastest growing region last year. The board is made up of senior international business leaders from industries like consumer goods, insurance, automotive, fashion, and technology.

Sarah Franklin, chief marketing officer: reports to Taylor

Sarah Franklin was promoted to chief marketing officer after Stephanie Buscemi stepped down from the role in January. She’s a 13 year company veteran who has been key to Salesforce’s growth. Previously she was executive VP and general manager of Platform, Trailhead & Developers, overseeing the company’s relationship with external software engineers building on its platform.

Franklin reports to Bret Taylor, meaning Taylor also has significant influence over Salesforce’s outreach strategy. 

Franklin still runs Trailhead and developer relations in her new role as marketing chief, while her platform responsibilities moved to Patrick Stokes, who is now executive VP and general manager of the Salesforce Platform.

She’s best known for founding Trailhead, a free online learning tool to help people hone the skills needed to get a job using Salesforce software.  

Trailhead experienced a boost in usage during the pandemic and Franklin told Insider last May that it had over 2 million users as people looked to reskill and find new jobs.

“Companies are looking to go digital faster than ever right now and they need people with those skills,” she said at the time. 

David Schmaier, chief product officer: reports to Taylor

David Schmaier is Salesforce’s new chief product officer as of early February and oversees the global product team, strategy, and vision. He joined the company via its $1.33 billion acquisition of his startup Vlocity last February and was initially named CEO of Salesforce Industries when the acquisition closed in June.

He has reported to Bret Taylor since he joined the company.

The product chief position had been vacant since December 2019, when Taylor was promoted to chief operating officer, and Schmaier’s promotion demonstrates the firm’s focus on selling customized tools to specific industries like healthcare, financial services, government, and others categories.

Before Vlocity, Schmaier was one of the first employees at CRM software pioneer Siebel Systems in the 1990s. His long experience with industry-specific CRM will be crucial as Salesforce builds out this line of its business. 

Srinivas Tallapragada, chief engineering officer: reports to Taylor

Srinivas Tallapragada leads the global technology team responsible for building and operating Salesforce’s products. He took over as chief engineering officer in December 2019, after spending over seven years on Salesforce’s engineering team.

He joined Salesforce in 2012 and has decades of previous experience building enterprise software at Oracle and SAP.

 

 

Brent Hayward, MuleSoft CEO and general manager: reports to Taylor

Brent Hayward took over as CEO of MuleSoft — which Salesforce acquired in 2018 for $6.5 billion — in August 2020, after previous CEO Simon Parmett stepped down. Parmett served as an advisor for a few months before leaving the company in October.

MuleSoft’s CEO before Parmett, Greg Schott, also left last year in March.  

Hayward joined MuleSoft in 2013 and led MuleSoft’s global services, support, and education services before becoming its senior VP of global channels and alliances in 2017. In that role he worked with MuleSoft’s partner network to deliver the product to customers. 

Mark Nelson, incoming Tableau CEO: reports to Taylor

Mark Nelson is the new CEO of Tableau, as Adam Selipsky departs to become the chief executive of Amazon Web Services. Its unclear when Selipsky officially departs (he is still on the company’s leadership page) and when Nelson will take over. 

While Selipsky reported directly to Benioff, Nelson now reports to Taylor, Protocol first reported and Insider confirmed, in an indication that Taylor is leading the integration of Salesforce’s acquired companies. 

Nelson first joined Tableau in 2018 as its executive VP of product development, leading its global engineering team. Prior to Tableau, he was the chief technology officer at SAP-owned Concur for roughly four years and spent 16 years at Oracle in various product roles, including in cloud infrastructure. 

While Nelson is not widely known outside the company, his product expertise likely helped him stand out to Salesforce as it continues to try to integrate Tableau almost two years after it acquired the company for over $15 billion in 2019, according to Valoir analyst Rebecca Wettemann. 

“Marc recognizes — and Wall Street certainly recognizes — that there’s more runway in the Tableau acquisition for Salesforce,” Wettemann previously told Insider. “So having somebody who can think about, strategically, how that fits into the portfolio and then how to execute on it: That’s super important right now.

John Somorjai, executive VP of corporate development and Salesforce Ventures: reports to Taylor

John Somorjai runs Salesforce’s M&A strategy and execution as well as its venture capital arm. He joined the company in 2005 and is the one who runs the numbers and makes sure all M&A deals go through smoothly.

Under his leadership, Salesforce has acquired many companies that have expanded its product offerings and business, including Tableau, MuleSoft, Demandware, and, most recently, Slack.

He also runs Salesforce Ventures, which invests in enterprise technology startups, including well known companies like Zoom, DocuSign, Box, and Snowflake. He has doubled the size of his venture team over the last two years to 15 people, according to CNBC. 

Salesforce is known to acquire companies that it has invested: Acquisitions like Quip, MuleSoft, and Vlocity were all previously funded by Salesforce Ventures. 

With Somorjai reporting to Bret Taylor, it gives Taylor significant influence over what Salesforce decides to acquire or invest in. 

 

 

 

 

Brad Burns, chief communications officer: reports to Taylor

Brad Burns runs Salesforce’s communications organization and public relations strategy. He is in charge of the team that publishes Salesforce’s blog and press releases. 

Burns joined the company in 2018 after two years at AT&T, where he was a senior VP of corporate communications. 

Jo-ann Olsovsky, executive VP and chief information officer: reports to Taylor

Jo-ann Olsovsky oversees Salesforce’s global IT organization, making sure that the company’s infrastructure can support its product demand. Her organization is the first one to test all of Salesforce’s new products as well. 

She joined Salesforce in 2018 and was previously the chief information officer at BNSF Railway for 10 years. She helped modernize and digitize the railroad company, including by implementing Salesforce software. 

Her job is key as the company pitches itself to customers as an organization that can help them digitally transform and modernize their IT.

Jim Alkove, chief trust officer: reports to Taylor

Jim Alkove joined Salesforce in 2016 as its chief trust officer. He is responsible for “enterprise-wide information security and compliance, as well as information management and strategy to deliver the most secure and trusted enterprise cloud,” according to his LinkedIn. 

His team focuses on making sure Salesforce’s platform is secure and training people on the security measures they should be taking. He is also the site lead for Salesforce in the Pacific Northwest.

Alkove is another product-focused executive reporting to Taylor. 

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