scorecardSalesforce CEO says losing employees to layoffs is similar to mourning people who have died
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Salesforce CEO says losing employees to layoffs is similar to mourning people who have died

Britney Nguyen,Ashley Stewart,Ellen Thomas   

Salesforce CEO says losing employees to layoffs is similar to mourning people who have died
Tech2 min read
  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff compared losing employees to layoffs to mourning people who've died.
  • Benioff was talking to employees in an all-hands meeting and avoided their questions about layoffs.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff compared losing employees to layoffs to mourning people who have died during an all-hands call on Thursday.

"At the kickoff every year, you know, we, um, have a moment where we always say goodbye to everyone who's died during the year," Benioff said on the two-hour call with employees. "And, um, loss is really difficult and losing folks, and especially losing our trusted colleagues and our managers or employees, it's very similar, uh, in a lot of ways for me. We need to kind of acknowledge that and give ourselves time to mourn and kind of be able to move forward."

Salesforce announced on Wednesday that it plans to lay off about 10% of its workforce and close some of its offices. In an email to employees, Benioff said layoffs will happen "mostly over the coming weeks."

Benioff said Salesforce hired too many employees after a revenue boom during the pandemic, but is now facing an economic downturn.

"I take responsibility for that," he said in the email.

Earlier this week, the company initially laid off about 1,000 employees, many of which came from its data integration platform, MuleSoft.

Employees questioned Benioff's "Ohana" mantra in a company Slack channel meant for questions during the all-hands meeting. In Hawaiian culture, "Ohana" refers to family ties that encourage people to be responsible for each other, according to a Salesforce blog from 2017.

"Given how little of this call has addressed the layoffs, the questions asked in this channel, and the 'family' who were laid off, should we consider retiring the phrase 'Ohana?'" one employee asked in the Slack.

Amid the planned layoffs, other Salesforce executives have announced plans to leave the company, including Benioff's co-CEO Bret Taylor. Sources said the exodus of executives is in part due to Benioff's increasing control of Salesforce as it faces economic headwinds.

Read the full story here: Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff dodged questions in a rambling, 2-hour all-hands. Leaked messages show employees weren't pleased, and one executive even apologized for it later.




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