Salesforce announced three new members to its board of directors and the departure of two members following activist investor Elliott Management’s multibillion dollar investment in the enterprise applications vendor.
The new directors start March 1, according to a Friday statement from the San Francisco-based vendor. They include executives with Mastercard and ValueAct Capital and a former executive with Carnival Corp.
Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s soon-to-be-sole CEO, co-founder and board chairman, said in the statement that the new directors “each bring valuable experience to further enhance and balance the diverse skills on the board and advance our value creation initiatives.” He also thanked the two outgoing directors.
“We look forward to benefiting from their expertise and insights as Salesforce continues to drive durable top- and bottom-line growth and build on our position as the world’s #1 CRM,” Benioff said.
[RELATED: Elliott Management Takes Stake In Salesforce, ‘Walls Are Closing On’ Marc Benioff]ADVERTISEMENT
Salesforce Board Of Directors Changes
CRN has reached out to Salesforce for comment. The company described the board changes as an “ongoing board refreshment process.”
The three incoming directors are Arnold Donald, Sachin Mehra and Mason Morfit.
Also on the board are Bret Taylor, Salesforce’s departing co-CEO; Salesforce co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Parker Harris; and executives with ties to Williams-Sonoma, PeopleSoft, United Airlines, Gilead Sciences and YouTube.
Incoming director Donald is the former president and CEO of cruise company Carnival Corp. He left the role last year. His resume includes serving as CEO of global manufacturer Merisant Co. and more than 23 years in leadership roles at Monsanto.
Mehra is the chief financial officer of Mastercard, a role held since 2019. He has been with Mastercard for more than 12 years. His resume includes three years at Hess Corp.
And Morfit is the CEO and chief investment officer of ValueAct Capital, an investment firm based in San Francisco with more than $12 billion in assets under management. He is a former director of Microsoft.
ValueAct was founded by Jeff Ubben, another activist investor who has a stake in Salesforce, according to Reuters. CRN has reached out to Ubben’s Inclusive Capital Partners (In-Cap) firm for comment.
The two directors who do not intend to stand for re-election at Salesforce’s annual meeting of stockholders are Sanford Robertson and Alan Hassenfeld.
Robertson and Hassenfeld have been Salesforce directors since 2003. Robertson has been a principal of technology buyout firm Francisco Partners since 1999.
Hassenfeld is chairman emeritus of toymaker Hasbro and served as its chairman and CEO from 1989 to 2003.
Elliott has made numerous investments in technology companies that have resulted in a turnover in management and layoffs. Most recently, Elliott took a multibillion-dollar stake in Citrix, which went private and combined with Tibco. The resulting company laid off 15 percent of its workforce earlier this year. That cut took place after Tom Krause was hired as the CEO of the combined company last year.
A report issued by investment firm Wedbush Securities after Elliott’s announced stake said that “the walls are closing on Benioff after a Cinderella ride the last decade and investors are frustrated.”
“It’s ripe for activism with nothing off the table,” according to Wedbush.
The Elliott investment comes after Salesforce said earlier this month it would lay off 7,000 employees, or 10 percent of its workforce. It also comes with Salesforce co-CEO Taylor due to step down on Jan. 31.
A third activist fund, Starboard Value, has also built a stake in Salesforce. CRN has reached out to Starboard for comment.LEARN MORE: Cloud Platforms | Cloud Software | Enterprise Applications | SMB Applications
Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at [email protected].
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