Arik Hesseldahl

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Salesforce Names Former Oracle Exec Keith Block President and Vice Chairman

keith-blockSalesforce.com just announced that it had named Keith Block as president and vice-chairman. If that name sounds familiar, it is the same Keith Block who used to be executive vice president for North America at the software giant Oracle.

Still not ringing a bell? Block was the one found to be disparaging Oracle products in a series of instant messages with a colleague that were disclosed in the course of the complicated Itanium lawsuit with Hewlett-Packard. Here’s the best bit.

“Nobody talks about Sun, even the Sun customers…it’s dead dead dead….Nobody wants to sell Sun…it baaaalllllooooooows….pig with lipstick, at best.”

Block was referring to Sun Microsystems, the hardware company that Oracle acquired in 2010. Block’s departure from Oracle was confirmed a few days after those messages came to light.

But enough about that. What’s he going to do at Salesforce? Join the board of directors, for one thing. It’s a big hire for CEO Marc Benioff, especially in light of the growing rivalry between him and his former mentor, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

Here’s the official announcement:

Keith Block Joins Salesforce.com as President and Vice Chairman

Leading technology veteran to head salesforce.com’s customer facing operations

Block appointed to salesforce.com’s Board of Directors

SAN FRANCISCO, June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM), the world’s #1 CRM platform (http://www.salesforce.com/), today announced that Keith Block has joined the company as President and Vice Chairman, leading the company’s global sales, customer support and consulting services organizations. In addition, Block has been appointed to salesforce.com’s Board of Directors.

Block has led winning sales, consulting and engineering teams for nearly 30 years. In his most recent role as Oracle’s Executive Vice President of North America Sales & Consulting, Block led an 11,000-person team and built a multi-billion dollar sales business unit that achieved record revenue growth and margin expansion over the span of 10 years.

Comments on the News

“We are thrilled to welcome Keith to salesforce.com,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, salesforce.com. “His exceptional track record leading sales, consulting and engineering teams makes him a powerful addition to our world-class distribution and leadership team.”

“14 years ago, salesforce.com completely changed the face of enterprise software and they are once again leading a new era of software with next generation social and mobile cloud technologies,” said Keith Block, President and Vice Chairman, salesforce.com. “I’m incredibly excited to join salesforce.com and help pave the way to $10 billion by delivering innovation, growth and customer success.”

Background on Keith Block

Prior to joining salesforce.com, Block spent 26 years at Oracle, where he led the transformation to a specialized sales model to support industry, solution and market segmentation. In addition, Block served as an Executive Officer at Oracle and a member of Oracle’s Executive Committee.

Block began his career at Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior consultant to Air Force executives.

Block serves on the Board of Trustees at the Concord Museum, the Advisory Board at Carnegie-Mellon University Heinz Graduate School, and the President’s Advisory Council for Carnegie-Mellon University.

Block holds an M.S. in Management & Policy Analysis and a B.S. in Information Systems Management from Carnegie-Mellon University. He is also a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon Heinz Graduate School.


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