Keith Block’s Ascendancy to Co-CEO of Salesforce


The esteemed cloud technology firm, Inc. (CRM.NEW YORK), made a significant announcement on Tuesday. They elevated their Chief Operating Officer, Keith Block, to the esteemed position of Co-Chief Executive Officer.

Joining forces with Marc Benioff, the company’s co-founder, Block will also assume the responsibilities as the Chairman of the Board.

In this new structure, Benioff will direct the company with his vision and handle innovation, while Block will be tasked with propelling the company’s growth strategy, execution, and overall operations.

“Keith and I, working in unison over the past half-decade, have really shaped how Salesforce operates today,” Benioff shared with Fortune during an interview.

Block will now have direct accountability to the Board of Directors, marking a subtle shift from his previous reporting arrangement directly to Benioff.

In addition, Parker Harris, the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Salesforce, has been appointed to the Board of Directors as well, as indicated in a subsequent press release by the company.

Keith Block’s Tenure at Salesforce

Block’s tenure at Salesforce merits attention, having propelled the firm to the forefront of the CRM market for a remarkable five years running, according to IDC’s revenue-based market share assessment. His tenure is hallmarked by securing an unprecedented number of major deals.

Keith Block Salesforce CEO

Keith Block stepping into the Co-CEO role at Salesforce. Source: Salesforce

When Block joined the company in June 2013, he was immediately appointed as the Vice Chairman, President, and a member of the company’s board.

Wearing multiple hats, he orchestrated the exponential growth of the company’s sales, service sectors, partnerships, industry strategies, corporate ventures, public affairs, marketing, and operational procedures.

In a 2014 statement, Benioff acclaimed Block as the “premier sales executive” in the industry. This was evident as Salesforce witnessed a tripling of their revenue, skyrocketing from $4 billion to $12.5 billion by 2017’s close, according to a report by CNBC.

Since February 2016, Block has been contributing to the renowned sales and marketing organization as the Chief Operating Officer.

Keith Block: Professional Journey before Salesforce

Block boasts an impressive resume with over thirty years in leading edge sales, consulting, and technology teams, beginning his career at Booz Allen Hamilton as a Senior Consultant.

Before Block’s endeavor with Salesforce, he held a pivotal role at Oracle, a major competitor, as the Executive Vice President of North America Sales and Consulting.

Interestingly, Oracle mirrors a co-CEO model, with Mark Hurd and Safra Catz at the helm. Benioff and Block also share a history dating back to 1986 as colleagues at Oracle.

Joining Salesforce and Oracle in the dual CEO strategy, as per Fortune, are other Fortune 500 enterprises like American Financial Group, KKR, and Whole Foods.

Block’s academic pedigree includes a Master’s degree in Management and Policy Analysis and a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems, both from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Keith Block’s Executive Roles and Contributions

At present, Block serves as a Governor on the Information Technology Community for the World Economic Forum. His involvement also extends to being a board member at Carnegie-Mellon University and the Concord Museum, as well as serving on the advisory board for Carnegie-Mellon University’s Heinz Graduate School.

Keith Block’s Philanthropic Engagements

In February, Block, along with his spouse Suzanne, instituted the Block Center for Technology and Society at Carnegie-Mellon.

The Block Center dedicates itself to crafting actionable strategies that ensure emerging technologies advance social causes, inclusivity, and improve the quality of life.

Block is also passionately involved with Boston Partners in Education, a non-profit organization passionate about enhancing the scholastic attainments and personal growth of students within Boston’s public schools.

In addition, Block’s Twitter profile reveals his personal interests, which include being a fervent Boston sports fan, a history buff, and an enthusiast of musicians Eddie, Joe, Bruce, and the Dropkick Murphys.

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