In a recent announcement, Salesforce named rising star Bret Taylor as its new chief operating officer and president. Well known for his ability to see the possibilities and finding pragmatic solutions for problems, Taylor is hailed as an innovator with a keen business savvy. Many expect that his prior experience with transformative tech companies like Facebook and Google combined with his innate sense for the ‘next big thing’ is bound to continue serving Salesforce well.
Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, has followed Taylor’s career and believes there are big things ahead. “As the guy who invented the Like button at Facebook, Google Maps and other innovations, he’s the Chosen One to take the technologies teams further,” he said. “It’s a good move for Salesforce, and shows the deep bench strength the team has.”
Brent Leary, founder of CRM Essentials, also offers his opinion on Taylor’s meteoric rise through Salesforce’s ranks: “It’s been feeling like he’s being groomed for the big chair somewhere down the line.” Leary points to Taylor’s experience as preparation for his move up in the company and other potential moves in the future.
Taylor started his career with Salesforce in 2016 after the marketing software-maker bought Quip – a document management platform – that he co-founded with business partner Kevin Gibbs. Taylor was promptly promoted to the president and chief product officer positions in 2017. His importance within the organization came to light after it was disclosed that he played a prominent role in securing Salesforce’s $6.5 billion acquisition of Mulesoft in March 2018.
CEO Marc Benioff first met Bret Taylor in 2007 when he attended a dinner series organized by the now heir presumptive while he worked with venture capital firm Benchmark. They developed a relationship over the years, and when Taylor was ready to launch his own company, Quip, he turned to Benioff for advice and investment capital. And when Benioff made an offer to buy the San Francisco startup, Taylor joined the Salesforce team.
Benioff offered his own ringing endorsement to the chorus of Taylor supporters in an emailed statement to CNBC, describing “Bret… [as] one of the greatest product visionaries in our industry today” and that he is “key to Salesforce’s innovation and our customers’ success.”
Taylor graduated with an MS in computer science from Stanford University in 2003 and began his career as Group Product Manager with Google. There, he co-created Google Maps and other related online applications before moving on to work with Benchmark Capital as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Taylor founded his first company, called FriendFeed, in 2007 and sold the company to Facebook in 2009. Taylor became the social networking site’s CTO and served in that role until he left three years later to launch his second company, Quip.