Salesforce Boss Benioff Joins Cisco Board


Marc Benioff, the oft-outspoken co-founder and CEO of Salesforce.com, is among two new appointees to Cisco's board of directors, the networking titan confirmed Thursday.

Benioff and Dr. Kristina M. Johnson, CEO of Enduring Hydro and the former Undersecretary of Energy for the U.S. Department of Energy, are part of Cisco's board as of Aug. 1, expanding its membership to 14 seats.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome Marc and Kristina to Cisco's board of directors," John Chambers, Cisco's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Marc has changed the face of technology through his bold ideas around cloud computing and the social enterprise. Kristina brings an unmatched expertise in science and technology, which will help guide Cisco as we continue to innovate and transform our customers' experience."

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Benioff's appointment is particularly notable as it comes as Cisco is looking to sharpen its cloud computing strategy. Cisco Chief Strategy and Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior told CRN in April that Cisco would make a number of cloud-related program announcements in the coming months and in June, at Cisco Live, confirmed a number of cloud-enabled routing and services offerings under a new brand called Cisco Cloud Connected Solution.

Cisco also has seen plenty of growth in its Unified Computing System (UCS), the data center offering it has positioned as a cloud infrastructure enabler. Part of UCS is a server offering, and Cisco is now the No. 3 vendor in x86 blade servers, according to researcher IDC.

Benioff, 47, who founded Salesforce in 1999, worked for 13 years at Oracle, whose software and cloud strategies he often criticizes. At December's Cloudforce conference in New York, Benioff described Oracle's cloud strategy as "failed" and said, "I don't know what they're doing, honestly. I think they're just selling computers."

Johnson, 55, managed a $10.5 billion energy and environment portfolio during the years she spent as Undersecretary of Energy. She also has a background in science and academia, having served as provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at The Johns Hopkins University and dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke. She holds more than 45 U.S. patents.

Cisco is not replacing any directors and none are stepping down, either. The board now includes Chambers, Benioff, Johnson, former Yahoo CEOs Carol Bartz and Jerry Yang, former Mercer CEO M. Michele Burns, former VCE CEO Michael Capellas, former Cisco Senior Vice President Larry Carter, former National Semiconductor CEO Brian Halla, Stanford University President John Hennessy, former Wells Fargo CEO Richard Kovacevich, Tegile Systems Chairman Roderick McGeary, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Senior Advisor and former Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin, and Emerging Company Partners founder and Partner Steven West.

PUBLISHED AUG. 2, 2012