In November, Bret Taylor walked away from the Co-CEO role at Salesforce. He had been in that role for only 12 months and it is clear that he and SalesForce founder Marc Benioff were pulling in different directions. There were dozens of articles written in the wake of Taylor’s resignation citing reasons for his abrupt departure.
- Strategic Differences According to Fortune Magazine, Taylor and Benioff disagreed about strategy and direction for the company. In the end, Benioff remained to make those calls.
- Lines of Demarcation According to the Wall Street Journal, Taylor and Benioff could not agree on who was doing what. There was genuine confusion on the part of customers and staff on who to go to and for what issues.
- Personnel Decisions In Bloomberg, it was reported that there were a number of senior leaders at SalesForce that Taylor wanted to reassign and perhaps to move out. That wasn’t going to happen with Marc Benioff still involved with the company.
Fact is that Co-CEO roles are disappearing all over the technology markets, and for all the reasons quoted above. Tough economies require a single leadership voice, relying on a coherent structure to see the company through. Investors have very strong opinions about eliminating this new-age concept — witness companies like Twitter and Square (now Box) and Oracle and Whole Foods. It’s time for boards of directors and CEOs to accept that there can be only one person in charge at a time.