Salesforce employees say they were blindsided by Bret Taylor's departure

Salesforce employees say they were blindsided by Bret Taylor's departure
Niholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images; Salesforce; Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider

Can you believe it's already December? If anybody needs me, I'll be putting up Christmas decorations, eating cookies, and watching movies… which, aside from the Christmas decorations, is basically just a typical Thursday for me.


Today's not a typical day for the staff at Salesforce, some of whom told us they were blindsided by co-CEO Bret Taylor's decision to step down. Below, we've got details on what Salesforce employees — including now-solo CEO Marc Benioff — are saying about Taylor's announcement.

Let's get to it.

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1. Salesforce employees were blindsided by Bret Taylor's departure. Marc Benioff says he'll get him back. Workers at the cloud giant — Benioff included — were stunned by the news that heir apparent Taylor is stepping down as Salesforce's vice chair and co-CEO.

  • In the company's third-quarter earnings call Wednesday, Taylor said he wants to return to his "entrepreneurial roots." The sudden announcement left many at the company feeling blindsided, employees and others close to the company told Insider. Benioff, too, appeared shocked.
  • "We have to let him be free, let him go, and I understand, but I don't like it… we're gonna try to get you back somehow," Benioff said. "Don't think you're gonna somehow get out of this alive because you're not." In an internal email, Benioff added that he will "always be Bret's biggest champion." Read the full memo here.
  • Taylor was named co-CEO of Salesforce last November after serving as the company's chief operating officer. His emergence as one of Salesforce's top leaders came after just five years with the company.
  • Starting in January, Benioff will be left to run the company as its sole CEO.

Here's what workers told us about Taylor's departure.

In other news:

Salesforce employees say they were blindsided by Bret Taylor's departure
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2. Amazon's Alexa is just a "glorified clock radio." Voice assistants were supposed to be revolutionary — Amazon thought Alexa would be the next iPhone — but no one's figured out how to make them profitable, and now, the unit that built Alexa is on the chopping block. Where it all went wrong.


3. If Elon Musk goes to war with Apple, history says he'll likely lose. On Monday, Musk had some choice words for Apple and its CEO after he decried the iPhone maker's 30% fee for all in-app purchases. However, on Wednesday, Musk posted a video on Twitter thanking Tim Cook for taking him around Apple's "beautiful HQ." While it is unclear whether tensions have settled between the two tech titans, if Musk does take on Apple, history isn't on his side.

4. A former Shopify worker says he's happier now since being fired. The 38-year-old former support advisor told Insider his heavy workload increased after this summer's layoffs, and that he felt disposable and overworked while at Shopify. Read everything the worker told us.

5. Bengaluru, home to 1.5 million IT workers, has dodged the tech winter ripping through Silicon Valley. Dubbed "the world's back-office," the tech hub in Southern India has mostly escaped the downturn that's hit companies like Facebook and Twitter — but experts warn it may not last.

6. These 13 behind-the-scenes execs are leading Apple's $5 billion advertising division. The company is quietly expanding its advertising empire, but the team keeps a low profile. We asked more than a dozen industry insiders and former Apple staffers to identify the most important leaders building Apple's advertising business. Meet the execs spearheading the unit.

7. Sam Bankman-Fried says he only has $100,000 left in his bank account. The former FTX CEO, once worth $26 billion, told Axios he's down to his last six digits. More on that here.


8. Sentry has acquired Codecov, a maker of software development tools. Application monitoring service Sentry, recently valued at over $3 billion, told Insider about the acquisition yesterday. Read our exclusive report.

Odds and ends:

Salesforce employees say they were blindsided by Bret Taylor's departure

9. It's that time of year: Spotify Wrapped is back. The feature, which shows your favorite songs, artists, and genres of the year, is now available in Spotify's mobile app. Here's how to find it.

10. Take a full photo tour of the new electric Hummer. Like its gas-guzzling predecessor, the Hummer EV is big, brash, and expensive. Insider reporter Tim Levin got to see the EV first hand, and has a look at some of its coolest features. Check them out here.


What we're watching today:

  • Tesla is delivering its first electric truck to Pepsi.
  • A four-part docuseries on Richard Branson is set to air on HBO.
  • Asana and others are reporting earnings. Keep up with earnings here.
  • TechEx Global starts today in London.

Keep updated with the latest tech news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.

Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.