Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: Dealmaker, publisher & political backer

The 56-year-old tech titan is building his resume

As the software industry continues to consolidate, with Salesforce.com announcing its intent to acquire Slack for nearly $28 billion in cash and stock, Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff has jumped to the front of the class as the preeminent dealmaker in the industry.

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Yet there's more to 56-year-old tech titan than just M&A, though.

BILLIONAIRE TECH EXEC

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
WORKSLACK TECHNOLOGIES INC.42.65+0.23+0.54%
CRMSALESFORCE.COM225.77+3.60+1.62%

Benioff, worth nearly $9 billion according to Forbes, has made his fortune in software. He is the largest individual shareholder in the company 3.1% of shares outstanding, according to Refinitiv.

Before that, he was an employee at Oracle, where he held a number of executive positions, including in sales, marketing and product development under the tutorage of CEO Larry Ellison.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
WORKSLACK TECHNOLOGIES INC.42.65+0.23+0.54%
CRMSALESFORCE.COM225.77+3.60+1.62%

He left Oracle and founded Salesforce in March 1999, becoming the most preeminent figure of the "software-as-a-service" model that has become commonplace today, even more so with the surge in working remotely.

Benioff has been instrumental in helping Salesforce beef up its offerings, acquiring Tableau, Quip, MuleSoft, Demandware, among others.

TIME MAGAZINE OWNER 

In September 2018, he took another step outside his box, purchasing Time Magazine, along with his wife, Lynne, for a reported $190 million.

The Benioffs are believed to view the acquisition as an investment and will not be involved in the day-to-day journalistic operations at Time, mirroring Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ policy after his acquisition of the Washington Post in 2013.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AMZNAMAZON.COM INC.3,292.23-14.76-0.45%

“We’re investing in a company with tremendous impact on the world, one that is also an incredibly strong business,” Benioff told The Wall Street Journal at the time. “That’s what we’re looking for when we invest as a family.”

SALESFORCE TO ADD 12,000 JOBS OVER THE NEXT YEAR

CALIFORNIA POLITICAL PLAYER + HOMELESS ADVOCATE

Benioff has also become instrumental in the California political scene, as well as advocating for the homeless in the state.

In October 2019, Benioff told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo that he has "a lot of ideas" on how to handle the homeless epidemic sweeping California, adding that he believes “the key to homelessness is housing.”

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In 2018, Benioff spent $7 million to pass a new measure called Proposition C in San Francisco, in order to create more homeless services.

“We badly need extremely low-income housing and social services,” he explained. “It’s been proven by medical studies, by clinical studies, and we’re just not doing enough.”

AUTHOR

In his free time, Benioff is a New York Times best selling author, with at least four books under his belt. Most recently he published 'Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change' and before that 'Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry' as listed on Amazon.

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FOX Business' Thomas Barabbi and Julia Limitone contributed to this story.