Stewart Butterfield
Stewart Butterfield

Slack CEO, co-founder Stewart Butterfield to quit in Jan 2023

Butterfield, spearheading the workplace communication platform has said he would leave his position in January, as per a NYT report.

SAN FRANCISCO: Stewart Butterfield, the chief executive of Slack, which is owned by Salesforce, is the latest to announce an exit from Salesforce in recent weeks.

Butterfield, spearheading the workplace communication platform has said he would leave his position in January, as per a NYT report.

Butterfield, who helped found Slack, announced his departure less than a week after Bret Taylor, Salesforce’s co-chief executive, resigned from his post. Taylor, who is also leaving the company in January, helped engineer the deal to buy Slack for $27.7 billion in 2020.

Marc Benioff, a founder of Salesforce, will remain the company’s chief executive. Lidiane Jones, a Salesforce cloud executive, will succeed Butterfield as Slack’s chief executive. Slack’s chief product officer, Tamar Yehoshua, will be leaving Salesforce, the NYT report said.

“Stewart is an incredible leader who created an amazing, beloved company in Slack. He has helped lead the successful integration of Slack into Salesforce,” a Salesforce spokeswoman said in a statement.

Slack, which was founded in 2010, grew quickly and went public in 2019. Companies use Slack so workers can communicate with one another quickly and often in groups. Its purchase by Salesforce underscored how the coronavirus pandemic had cemented remote work and fundamentally changed the workplace.

The acquisition of Slack cost nearly double Salesforce’s next largest acquisition. In 2019, Salesforce bought the data visualisation software company Tableau for $15.3 billion. Tableau’s chief executive, Mark Nelson, resigned from Salesforce last Thursday.

The incredible entrepreneur

Slack grew out of Butterfield’s second attempt at building a gaming start-up. The game, called Glitch, was a “massively multiplayer online” game where, instead of killing enemies, players went on quests and learned skills like baking or meditation. Slack’s explosive growth soon made it an investor darling. In 2019, the company valued $7.1 billion, managed to raise $1.4 billion in funding from venture capital firms like Accel and Andreessen Horowitz, as well as SoftBank’s Vision Fund.

Once Butterfield offended Robert De Niro at an awards event with an irreverent comment, prompting the actor to curse at him from the stage.

On another occasion, Butterfield bought a snarky full-page newspaper ad to taunt a rival, Microsoft. And he has tweeted expletive-laden opinions about President Trump, as well as emoji-heavy messages ruminating on the cosmos.

Butterfield, who spent his early years at a commune in British Columbia, was named Dharma at birth. At age 12, he changed his name to Daniel. (Stewart is his middle name.) At the University of Victoria, where he studied philosophy, he discovered Usenet, email and Internet Relay Chat — the web protocol that forms the basis of Slack.

After graduating, he worked as a web designer and blogged about photography and tech nerdery. Along with his now former wife, Caterina Fake, and a friend, Jason Classon, he co-founded Ludicorp, a company based in Vancouver, which created a video game called Game Neverending and a photo-sharing site, Flickr.

The photo-sharing service went on to be bought in 2005 by Yahoo. Butterfield left Yahoo in 2008 — but not before his email resignation, which included an elaborate, farcical story about tinsmithing that served as a metaphor for the internet company’s mismanagement, went viral.

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