Actor Matthew McConaughey and musician Will.i.am are often involved in company strategy discussions at Salesforce, report says
- Matthew McConaughey and Will.i.am have taken part in corporate strategy discussions at Salesforce, the FT reported.
- McConaughey has appeared in Salesforce ads, while Will.i.am's tech firm raised money from the software giant.
Celebrities Will.i.am and Matthew McConaughey have taken part in high level discussions about strategy at software giant Salesforce, according to a report from the Financial Times.
The FT reported, citing a source familiar with the matter, that actor McConaughey and musician and producer Will.i.am are often included in business conversations.
Additionally, a non-Salesforce staffer who has attended meetings at the company told the FT they had seen celebrities involved in "high-level corporate discussions."
"Black Eyed Peas" star Will.i.am, real name William Adams, has been deeply involved in the tech sector for many years, founding wearables company i.am+, which in 2017 raised $117 million in funding from firms including Salesforce Ventures, according to PitchBook data.
In an interview with Yahoo! Finance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week, Will.i.am called Salesforce's co-CEO Marc Benioff "my big brother and my mentor."
McConaughey, meanwhile, has been heavily involved in Salesforce's advertising in recent years, including appearing in its 2022 Super Bowl commercial.
According to a different source cited by the FT, McConaughey and Will.i.am are only involved in informal conversations in the business, not meetings around corporate strategy.
Salesforce did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider about Will.i.am and McConaughey's apparent involvement in corporate discussions.
Whatever their role in any discussions, the FT reports that Benioff's penchant for befriending celebrities has caused concern among investors.
In recent months, two major activist investors have taken substantial stakes in Salesforce. Elliott Management, often described as one of the most feared activist investors on earth, recently took a multibillion dollar stake. Starboard Value also bought into the company in October, though it did not disclose the size of its stake.
Wall Street insiders believe that Elliott's involvement could result in cost-cutting changes to push for a more profitable Salesforce, Insider's Paayal Zaveri reported.
According to one analyst, JMP Securities' Pat Walravens, changes could include laying off staff, making changes to the board, and possibly selling off some of Salesforce's expensive acquisitions like Slack, which it bought for $27.7 billion in 2020.
In early January, Salesforce said it was laying off 10% of its workforce in an effort to cut costs and to correct its hiring spree during the pandemic. With a global headcount of around 79,000, Salesforce's cuts likely impacted just under 8,000 staff.
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