Is “Rising Star” Bret Taylor The Next CEO Of Salesforce?

According to reports, Salesforce is preparing Chief Operating Officer Bret Taylor to be next in line for the position of CEO, and the announcement could supposedly come as soon as the next few months.

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If Taylor is promoted, Benioff may decide against a co-CEO title in favor of an executive chairman role, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter who said there is hesitation about having co-CEOs again because of challenges in delineating responsibilities for the two roles.

Taylor joined the company in 2016 when Salesforce purchased his startup Quip for $750 million, and he’s since moved quickly up the ladder. Benioff named him president and chief product officer in 2017, before he became COO. "He's one of the absolute rising stars in our industry," Benioff said in 2016 following the acquisition.

Taylor was quickly regarded as second in line to the Salesforce leadership chair behind Keith Block. Former co-CEO, Block, stepped down last year in February, leaving Benioff alone at the top.

A recent ex-employee of Salesforce told publication Protocol that people at the company were caught off guard by Block's departure. Though, they aren’t surprised that the move positions Taylor to be next in line.

Taylor has also developed a reputation for innovating new products. He co-created Google Maps while at Google until 2007, then went on to create a social networking aggregator FriendFeed that was acquired in 2009 by Facebook, where he was later named CTO. Taylor left Facebook in 2012 to start Quip, the word processing app that Salesforce eventually acquired. Taylor was reportedly also a driver behind Salesforce’s pending $27.7 billion acquisition of San Francisco-based Slack.

With his penchant for innovation and history of leadership in successful startups, Taylor is well positioned to take the helm of one of the most successful enterprise software companies in the market.