Meet the 7 most important execs who left Salesforce in 2020 — including Keith Block — and the 8 new power players who joined

  • Salesforce lost and hired a handful of important executives this year, including chief scientist Richard Socher, who stepped down earlier this week.
  • The most significant departure was former co-CEO Keith Block, who left in February after less than two years on the job. 
  • Salesforce has also seen a significant shakeup to its international business after its former head Miguel Milano stepped down. It replaced him with Gavin Patterson, who has since been promoted to chief revenue officer, and hired three new regional heads in parts of Europe and India.
  • Read below for Salesforce's biggest hires and departures of the past year.
  • Are you a current or former Salesforce employee? Contact this reporter via email at [email protected] or Signal at 925-364-4258. 
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Salesforce has seen some significant executive upheaval over the last seven months.

Chief scientist Richard Socher, who is credited with developing Salesforce's smart assistant Einstein, announced his departure earlier this week and, most notably, its former co-CEO Keith Block stepped down from his role in February after less than two years on the job. 

Beyond Block and Socher, five other key execs left the company, while eight new power players joined. While the turnover came from different divisions of Salesforce, the executive shuffle shows, overall, how the company is putting a renewed focus on its vertical sales strategy and doubling down on international markets. 

For example, on the heels of Block leaving, Salesforce acquired cloud software company Vlocity for $1.33 billion, with Vlocity CEO David Schmaier becoming CEO of Salesforce Industries when the acquisition closed in June. 

Along with Block's departure, came a shakeup to Salesforce's international business. Salesforce's former head of international, Miguel Milano left to join AI startup Celonis. He was replaced by Gavin Patterson who was previously the chair of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Salesforce since August 2019. Patterson is set to become chief revenue officer for all of Salesforce in August.

As Salesforce tries to grow its customer base, it's international business is becoming increasingly important. To that end, it brought onboard a number of regional leaders to focus on specific markets, including Denis Terrien and Stefan Hoechbauer in Europe, Arundhati Bhattacharya in India, and Tara Ridley and Colin Timm in Austrailia and New Zealand.

Valoir analyst Rebecca Wettemann points out that software companies that do well globally often have local leaders running things, which is what Salesforce is working towards, she said. 

"What we've seen as Salesforce has grown is them having both the resources and the knowledge to devolve more responsibility to regional or country heads," Wetteman said. "I've seen this with other software companies: The ones that do well globally have feet on the ground that understand intimately those regions. So I think it's a natural evolution."

Here are Salesforce's biggest hires and departures in 2020:

Departure: Keith Block, former co-CEO

Keith Block surprised many when he stepped down from his role as co-CEO of Salesforce in February after less than two years on the job.

Since joining Salesforce in 2013 as head of sales, getting promoted to COO, and then moving on to the co-CEO role, Block played a crucial role in building out Salesforce's sales strategy. In particular, he pioneered Salesforce's current sales strategy of selling to specific industries like healthcare and government.

During his tenure, Salesforce's revenue just about quadrupled: From $4 billion annually when he joined in 2013 to about the same amount in a single quarter now. Block joined Salesforce after 26 years at rival Oracle where he held a critical sales role. 

Block hasn't yet joined another company, and is serving as an advisor to CEO Marc Benioff until February 2021. However, analysts have speculated that Workday, Oracle or Amazon Web Services could be logical places for Block to end up. 

Departure: Richard Socher, former chief scientist

Richard Socher just left his role as Salesforce's chief scientist in mid-July, after four years on the job. Socher tweeted that he left because he plans to start his own company "with a vision I have been passionate about for a long time."

While at Salesforce, Socher became the brains behind Einstein, Salesforce's artificial intelligence system, which sits on top of — and works in tandem with — its main CRM product. He joined after Salesforce acquired AI company MetaMind, where he was founder and CEO. 

Salesforce created its research division shortly after the acquisition to help find ways to add AI to its customer-focused products. Socher's experience was crucial to helping Salesforce ramp up its AI efforts and introduce new AI-focused product updates like voice assistants, chatbots, and call coaching. 

Departure: Greg Schott, former executive VP of emerging API initiatives

Greg Schott left Salesforce in March after two year at the company. He joined in 2018 after Salesforce bought MuleSoft for $6.5 billion, where he had been chairman and CEO since 2009. He was promoted to executive VP of emerging API initiatives at Salesforce in May 2019.

MuleSoft has become a key part of Saleforce's product portfolio. It makes tools that help bring data from one piece of software into another, whether or not they have an official integration.

Schott's has not yet joined another company, according to his LinkedIn profile. 

Departure: Miguel Milano, former head of international

Former Salesforce head of international Miguel Milano left the company in February, around the same time as Keith Block. Milano left to become the first chief revenue officer at AI startup Celonis, a company which he also invested in. Celonis uses AI to quickly analyze an organization's network and find ways to make it work faster.

While at Salesforce, Milano led its international businesses across Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. He took on this role in 2018, and was previously leading Salesforce's operations in Europe and the Middle East. 

He was replaced by Gavin Patterson, who will serve as President and CEO of International for 6 months before becoming Salesforce's chief revenue officer in August. 

Departure: Ana Recio, former head of global talent & growth

Ana Recio was Salesforce's former head of talent and global recruiting. She left Salesforce in May and is now head of talent for SoFi. 

She worked in Salesforce's recruiting department for seven years. In her last, role she led talent management and development, all aspects of recruiting (from executive leadership to university), and employee career experiences. 

Departure: Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, former CEO of Salesforce UK and Ireland

Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia left her role as the CEO of Salesforce UK and Ireland in March. She left to focus on Snoop, a startup she founded that has funding from Salesforce Ventures' European arm. 

Gadhia took the CEO position in Octover 2019 and held the role for 7 months, according to her LinkedIn. She still serves as a strategic advisor to Salesforce. 

Departure: Paul Smith, former executive VP and UK general manager

Paul Smith was the second in command for Salesforce's UK business, and took over Gadhia's role when she left in March. He was responsible for the company's growth and business strategy in the UK.

Smith himself left Salesforce in July, and is now working at ServiceNow as its senior VP and general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

He was at Salesforce for eight years and was previously the head of cloud sales for the Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region.

Hire: Doug Camplejohn, executive VP and general manager of Sales Cloud

Doug Camplejohn joined the company in January to lead Sales Cloud, the company's flagship customer relationship management software. He was previously at LinkedIn, where he worked its Sales Navigator product, which helps salespeople find prospects on LinkedIn. Sales Navigator can be used with other Microsoft products like Dynamics 365, which competes with Sales Cloud. 

Notably, Salesforce tried to acquire LinkedIn in 2016 before losing out to Microsoft's $26.2 billion acquisition offer.

In his role at Salesforce, Camplejohn is responsible for the product direction and operations for all sales products at Salesforce, such as Sales Cloud, CPQ, Billing, and Sales Intelligence. Camplejohn's experience will be key as the company looks to expand into new business lines and achieve its goal of using its software to get a "360-degree" view of a customer across a company's sales, service and marketing departments.

Hire: David Schmaier, CEO of Salesforce Industries

David Schmaier joined Salesforce the way many of its top executives have: via an acquisition. Salesforce acquired his startup Vlocity in February for $1.33 billion, and Schmaier was named CEO of Salesforce Industries when the acquisition closed in June. 

Vlocity made cloud software for specific industries — like insurance, healthcare, and the public sector — that sat on top of Salesforce's platform. Salesforce has been pursing an industry specific strategy that tailors its customer facing products for the needs of particular sectors, like its Financial Services Cloud and Health Cloud. Acquiring Vlocity was Salesforce's way of doubling down on that strategy.

Schmaier himself has years of experience customizing CRM software for specific industries. He was one of the first employees at Siebel Systems in the 1990s, a CRM software pioneer, and oversaw its effort to customize its software for particular industries.

Hire: Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairperson and CEO Salesforce India

Arundhati Bhattacharya joined Salesforce in April as the chief executive of its India business. She reports to Ulrik Nehammer, who is the general manager of Salesforce in the Asia-Pacific region.

She will help Salesforce expand its business in India, one of its fastest growing regions. Salesforce also plans to add 3,000 new jobs in India in the next three years, according to TechCrunch.

"India is an important growth market for Salesforce and a world-class innovation and talent hub and Arundhati's leadership will guide our next phase of growth, customer success and investment in the region," Gavin Patterson said in a press release announcing Bhattacharya's role. 

Bhattacharya was previously the chairperson of the state-run State Bank of India and the first woman to hold the position. She has 40 years of experience working in India's financial sector. 

Hire: Denis Terrien, executive VP and CEO of Southern Europe

Denis Terrien is part of Salesforce's efforts to grow its European business. He joined the company in June as the head of its southern Europe division, a region which stretches from the Alps in the north and ends at the Mediterranean Sea in the south.

Previously, Terrien was the chairman of retail group Vivarte and the CEO of e-commerce group 3SI. Early in his career he helped found Amazon's French business. 

Hire: Stefan Hoechbauer, executive VP and CEO of Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Stefan Hoechbauer is joining Salesforce as the head of its Germany, Austria and Switzerland business in October. He is currently the global president of Digital Core at SAP, based in Germany.

He's worked at SAP for nine years, and early in his career spent 11 years at Oracle. 

Gavin Patterson, Salesforce's head of international and incoming chief revenue officer said Europe, Middle East and Africa was Salesforce's fastest growing region last year. With Hoechbauer and Denis Terrien's "expertise and strategic, customer-centric leadership, we are well-placed to deliver our next phase of growth and customer success in these important markets," Patterson said.

Hoechbaurer's position is referred to as CEO of DACH, which stands for Deutschland (Germany), Austria, and Confœderatio Helvetica (Switzerland).

Hire: Colin Timm, senior VP of Australia and New Zealand

Colin Timm joined the executive team in Australia and New Zealand in March. According to his LinkedIn, his role includes "helping customers innovate and transform with Salesforce and our partners."

Timm is part of Salesforce's ongoing efforts to grow its business in the region. Last August, Salesforce hired Pip Marlow as the CEO of Australia and New Zealand, and Timm will be working alongside Marlow.

Prior to Salesforce, Timm worked at Google Cloud as the director for the Australia/New Zealand region. 

Hire: Tara Ridley, VP of alliances & channels for Australia and New Zealand

Tara Ridley joined Salesforce's growing Australia and New Zealand team as its VP of alliances and channels. She's responsible for setting and carrying out Salesforce's partner strategy in the region, and how its software is sold through resellers. 

Her job includes leading the ongoing growth of enterprise midmarket and SMB partner sales, account management, and ecosystem development, according to her LinkedIn. 

She previously spent 13 years at Cisco, most recently managing Cisco's partner organization in Australia and New Zealand.

Hire: Gail Frederick, senior VP engineering and Salesforce developer experience

Gail Frederick joined Salesforce in June as its head of developer experience in the company's platform tech division. Her job supports developers building apps and tools for Salesforce's platform, both inside and outside the company. 

She was previously the VP of the mobile and developer ecosystem at eBay, where she was responsible for reinventing eBay's public API, developer ecosystem, and mobile tech. 

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