Marc Benioff sole CEO of Salesforce after Keith Block steps down

Block was widely seen as a potential successor to Benioff, who founded the company in 1999, and will continue as the chairman.

(Reuters) - Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N) said on Tuesday Keith Block has stepped down as co-chief executive officer, making Marc Benioff the sole CEO of the business software company, sending its shares down nearly 3% in extended trading.

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Block was widely seen as a potential successor to Benioff, who founded the company in 1999, and will continue as the chairman.

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The company has spent more than $16 billion last year for acquisitions, adding muscle to its cloud products as it fends off competition from bigger rivals like Oracle Corp (ORCL.N) and German competitor SAP (SAPG.DE).

Salesforce forecast first-quarter revenue between $4.88 billion and $4.89 billion, compared with analysts’ estimates of $4.84 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company reported a net loss of $248 million, or 28 cents per share, for the quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with a net income of $362 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier.

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On an adjusted basis, the company earned 66 cents per share, beating estimates of 56 cents per share.

The company’s total revenue rose 34.6% to $4.85 billion, above estimates of $4.75 billion.