Salesforce will have three new board of directors members come March 1 – and lose two longtime members – as the influence of activist investors on the board appears to be increasing.
The San Francisco-based enterprise applications vendor has named executives with Mastercard and ValueAct Capital and a former executive with Carnival as incoming directors.
[RELATED: Elliott Management takes stake in Salesforce, ‘walls are closing on’ Marc Benioff]
The “ongoing board refreshment process,” as Salesforce’s statement calls the changes, comes after at least three activist investors have acquired equity stakes in the vendor.
Elliott Management, which has a multibillion-dollar investment in Salesforce, recently made headlines for its role in Citrix going private and merging with data applications vendor Tibco.
Activist fund Starboard Value has a stake in Salesforce, as does Jeff Ubben, co-founder of ValueAct, according to Reuters.
CRN has reached out to Salesforce, Elliott, Starboard and Ubben’s Inclusive Capital Partners (In-Cap) firm for comment.
The investors could push Salesforce to explore the divestiture of subsidiaries Slack, MuleSoft and Tableau, according to Business Insider.
In: Arnold Donald
Incoming director Arnold Donald is the former president and chief executive of cruise company Carnival.
He left that job last year after serving on the Carnival board and was named the president and chief executive of the company in 2013.
Donald’s résumé includes serving as chief executive of global manufacturer Merisant, whose products include sweetener brands Equal and Canderel, according to a profile on Donald by Washington University in St. Louis, where he received his bachelor’s degree.
Before Merisant, Donald worked at industrial chemicals company Monsanto for more than 20 years.
He joined in 1977 and became corporate senior vice president and president of the consumer and nutrition sector in 1998.
In: Sachin Mehra
Sachin Mehra is the chief financial officer of Mastercard, a role held since 2019.
He has been with Mastercard for more than 12 years.
His résumé includes three years at oil and gas company Hess.
Mehra left the company in 2010 with the title of vice president and treasurer.
He also worked at General Motors in a variety of treasury roles for about 10 years, according to Hess.
In: Mason Morfit
Mason Morfit is the chief executive and chief investment officer of ValueAct Capital, an investment firm based in San Francisco with more than US$12 billion in assets under management.
He’s been in that role for more than three years and with ValueAct since it formed in 2000, according to the firm.
ValueAct was co-founded by Jeff Ubben, who is one of at least three activist investors with a stake in Salesforce, according to Reuters.
Morfit served on the board of Microsoft from 2014 to 2017, according to The Seattle Times.
ValueAct had amassed a stake of about 1 per cent in Microsoft in 2013 while the tech giant was dealing with competition from Apple and Google in smartphones and applications.
A month before Morfit joined the board, current Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella succeeded Steve Ballmer.
Ballmer has said that ValueAct didn’t hasten his exit from the company, according to the Times.
Out: Robertson, Hassenfeld, Taylor
Departing board of directors members Sanford Robertson and Alan Hassenfeld have served on the Salesforce board since 2003.
Robertson co-founded technology buyout fund Francisco Partners in 1999 and has been a principal ever since.
Francisco Partners’ recent moves in the cybersecurity sector include investing in vendor WatchGuard and owning vendor SonicWall alongside Elliott Management – one of the activist investors with a stake in Salesforce.
Hassenfeld is chairman emeritus of toymaker Hasbro.
He served as its chairman and chief executive from 1989 to 2003.
Salesforce co-chief executive and board Vice Chairman Bret Taylor’s last day at Salesforce is Tuesday.
Taylor joined Salesforce in 2016 with the $750 million acquisition of Quip.
Remaining board Mmembers
Salesforce co-chief executive and co-founder Marc Benioff serves as chairman of the board of directors.
He co-founded Salesforce in 1999.
Benioff remains the largest non-institutional stockholder in Salesforce, owning more than 27.75 million shares of Salesforce stock and holding a 2.78 per cent stake in the company, according to reports filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Remaining on the board is Craig Conway, who has served since 2005 and was a target for removal, according to Yahoo.
Conway has served on Nutanix’s board of directors since 2017, according to his LinkedIn account.
He served as chief executive of PeopleSoft from 1999 until his ouster in 2004 amid Oracle’s hostile takeover.
He also served as chief executive of One Touch Systems from 1996 to 1999 and chief executive of TGV Software for three years before that.
Conway also previously worked as an executive vice president of sales and marketing at Oracle, leaving in 1992.
Robin Washington has been a Salesforce director since 2013.
She is also on the boards of Google parent Alphabet and Honeywell.
Her résumé includes leadership roles with biopharmaceutical company Gilead from 2008 to 2019.
She served in executive roles at enterprise software companies – and Oracle acquisitions – Hyperion and PeopleSoft during her career.
Former European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes has served on the Salesforce board since 2016.
Kroes made headlines in the 2000s for targeting tech vendors including Microsoft and Intel for allegedly anti-competitive practices.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos has been a Salesforce director since 2013.
Geodesic Capital, a venture capital firm he founded in 2015, has made investments in companies including Imply, Snyk and Databricks.
Maynard Webb, a director since 2006, held executive roles at on-demand call center provider LiveOps, online marketplace eBay, computer manufacturer Gateway and computer networking products maker Bay Networks.
Oscar Munoz has served as a Salesforce director since last year. He was chief executive of United Airlines from 2015 to 2020.
He also served in leadership roles at CSX from 2003 to 2015, according to Salesforce.
Susan Wojcicki, chief executive of Google subsidiary YouTube, has served as a director since 2014, according to Salesforce.
Laura Alber, chief executive of consumer retail company Williams-Sonoma, has served on the board since 2021.