Former Salesforce Co-CEO To Start AI Company With Google Exec

‘Rarely do you encounter a new technology so powerful that it feels inevitable that it will change the course of every industry,’ former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor said on LinkedIn.


Bret Taylor, Salesforce’s former co-CEO, is getting ready for an artificial intelligence-focused project with a departing Google executive after leaving the enterprise applications vendor in January.

Taylor posted on his LinkedIn account Wednesday about starting a new company with Clay Bavor, who is leaving his role as vice president of labs at Google.

“Rarely do you encounter a new technology so powerful that it feels inevitable that it will change the course of every industry,” Taylor wrote on LinkedIn. “I remember feeling that way when I first used a web browser in high school, and then again when I first saw Steve Jobs demonstrate the iPhone in 2007. I have that same sense of excitement and inevitability about modern AI, especially given recent advances in large language models.”

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Bret Taylor’s Company After Salesforce

He continued: “I could not be more excited to announce that Clay Bavor and I are going to create a new company to apply AI to solve some of the most important problems in business.”

CRN has reached out to Bavor, Google and Salesforce for comment.

In Bavor’s own LinkedIn post, the 18-plus-year Google veteran said he will leave the Mountain View, Calif.-based tech giant in March to work on the new company.

“Bret and I have known each other since our early days at Google, and I have always admired his keen product sense and entrepreneurial spirit, his technical chops, and, above all, his character and integrity,” Bavor wrote. “We share an obsession with recent advances in AI, and we’re excited to build a new company to apply AI to solve some of the most important problems in business.”

Bavor continued: “I’ll be setting out with Bret on this next adventure in March, and will have more to share once we get started. Until then, I’ll be focusing on transitioning my teams and projects, and wrapping things up properly at Google.”

Bavor started at Google in 2005 as an associate product manager. He rose through the ranks with roles that included leading “product management and design for Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Apps for Enterprise (now Workspace),” according to his LinkedIn account.

He also “started and led Google’s AR/VR effort and several related projects, including Project Starline and Google Lens,” according to his LinkedIn account. He’s held the labs VP title since 2021.

Taylor worked at Google from 2003 to 2007, leaving with the title of group product manager, according to his LinkedIn account.

At Google, he “co-created Google Maps, Google Local, and the Google Maps API,” according to his LinkedIn account. He also “created Google‘s developer product team and first developer conference, Google I/O.”

Taylor joined San Francisco-based Salesforce in 2016 with the $750 million acquisition of Quip, which he founded and led as CEO.

Taylor rose through Salesforce’s ranks as a president and chief product officer, president and chief operating officer and finally co-CEO, a title he held from 2021 to January – leaving Salesforce co-founder Marc Benioff the sole CEO.

Bavor’s departure appears to be unrelated to Google’s mass layoffs of 12,000 employees – part of a trend among tech vendors who hired a great deal of employees to meet increased demand for digital tools during the height of the pandemic and now face moderated customer demand with growing inflation in the United States and the potential for a recession.

Bavor’s departure comes after Google made cuts to areas of the company focused on bleeding edge technology, such as Area 120.

But the vendor is still focused on winning the race over AI, based on CEO Sundar Pichai’s comments on the company’s latest quarterly earnings call and its Bard offering.

Still, Bavor had positive words for his soon-to-be former employer.

“When I do depart next month, it will be with nothing but appreciation and gratitude,” he said. “My time at Google – which is to say, my entire career – has been formative, and deeply meaningful to me.”