Salesforce.com Hires Former Oracle Exec Keith Block As President


Keith Block, a former Oracle top North American sales executive who reportedly was dismissed from the company for writing emails critical of the company's management, was named president and vice chairman of Oracle rival Salesforce.com.

Block will lead Saleforce.com's customer-facing operations including its global sales, customer support and consulting services organizations, Salesforce.com said late Thursday. Block is also joining the cloud software company's board.

The Salesforce.com website still lists Blair Crump as the company's "president, global enterprise" and the statement announcing Block's appointment made no reference to Crump's status. A spokesperson did not immediately return a request for additional information Friday morning.

[Related: Salesforce.com Rolls Out New Mobility Solutions For Government]

Block's "exceptional track record leading sales, consulting and engineering teams makes him a powerful addition to our world-class distribution and leadership team," Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff said in the statement.

Block worked at Oracle for 26 years and had been executive vice president of the company's North American sales operations -- including the software giant's channel organization -- since 2002. He left the company in June 2012 and published reports at the time said Block had been dismissed after he wrote emails that were critical of the company's management and of Oracle's $7.3 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010.

The Salesforce.com statement noted that Block led the transformation of Oracle's sales operations "to a specialized sales model to support industry, solution and market segmentation." That experience might have been part of the attraction for fast-growing Salesforce.com, which reported 28 percent revenue growth to $893 million in its first fiscal quarter ended April 30.

The Salesforce statement quotes Block as saying he will "pave the way to $10 billion by delivering innovation, growth and customer success."

This week Salesforce disclosed a deal to acquire Exact Target, a supplier of Software-as-a-Service cross-channel, digital-marketing applications, for $2.5 billion.

PUBLISHED JUNE 7, 2013