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Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield To Leave Salesforce

Wade Tyler Millward

‘We’re grateful for Stewart and excited for Lidiane as she takes over the reins of Slack,’ a Salesforce spokesperson said to CRN in an email.

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Salesforce has confirmed a second executive departure shocker before closing out the year, with Slack CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield leaving collaboration application and Salesforce subsidiary, the enterprise applications vendor told CRN in an email.

Succeeding Butterfield is Lidiane Jones, who’s worked at San Francisco-based Salesforce for more than three years and currently holds the title of executive vice president and general manager of Salesforce’s Experience, Commerce and Marketing cloud.

CRN has reached out to Butterfield and Jones for comment.

[RELATED: Salesforce Co-CEO Bret Taylor To Leave Next Year]

Who is Slack’s CEO?

“Stewart is an incredible leader who created an amazing, beloved company in Slack,” a Salesforce spokesperson wrote in an email to CRN. “He has helped lead the successful integration of Slack into Salesforce and today Slack is woven into the Salesforce Customer 360 platform. Stewart also was instrumental in choosing Lidiane Jones as the next Slack CEO to lead it into its next chapter.”

The email continued: “Lidiane has a strong background in customer and enterprise tech and has been among Salesforce’s leadership for over three years. We’re grateful for Stewart and excited for Lidiane as she takes over the reins of Slack.“

Butterfield will leave Salesforce in January and said in an internal Slack message that his departure is unrelated to the recent surprise announcement of Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor also leaving, according to Business Insider, which broke the news.

The Slack CEO’s leave has been in the works for “several months,,” according to Business Insider.

Butterfield co-founded Slack in 2009 and sold the company to Salesforce in 2021 for about $28 billion.

Butterfield and Taylor’s departures come as Salesforce tries to grow revenues and margins despite an uncertain economy. Concerns in the U.S. around high inflation and a potential recession next year have fueled more time needed to close deals, Salesforce co-CEO and co-founder Marc Benioff and his team have told analysts on recent earnings calls.

The vendor reported earnings earlier this month for the third quarter of its 2023 fiscal year. Some third quarter Salesforce measures fell below Wall Street expectations – including subscription and support revenue of $7.23 billion and billings of $6.2 billion.

But measures that beat Wall Street expectations include Slack revenue of $402 million, total quarter revenue of $7.84 billion, services revenue of $604 million and a 22.7 percent operating margin.

He previously co-founded photo sharing website Flickr in 2004 and led the business as CEO, according to his LinkedIn account. He sold the business in 2005 to Yahoo and worked for more than three years for the web services provider.

In 2018, Yahoo sold Flickr to SmugMug, according to The Guardian.

Jones, his successor as head of Slack, has held her current executive vice president and general manager role since December, according to her LinkedIn account.

In this role, she works “to bring Digital Experiences to life to help our customers create fully connected and personalized experiences across Experience, Commerce and Marketing clouds to engage with their users across every touch point,” according to her LinkedIn.

She joined Salesforce in 2019 as senior vice president of product for Commerce Cloud. Before Salesforce, she worked at Sonos for more than three years, leaving with the title of vice president of software product management.

Jones worked at Microsoft for more than 12 years, leaving in 2015 with the title of group product manager for Azure Machine Learning, according to her LinkedIn account.

In this role, she helped customers “leverage their data and insight by making specialized algorithm easier to use and more accessible for organizations to increase value to their business,” according to her LinkedIn account.

She started at Microsoft in 2003 as a software engineer “building Data automation tools for modeling high scale data processing and calculations in Excel,” according to her LinkedIn account.

Salesforce‘s stock traded at $136.16 a share Monday afternoon Eastern time, down about 5 percent from market open.

Wade Tyler Millward

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 wmillward@thechannelcompany.com.

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