SaaS giant Salesforce announced the retirement of its president and CFO, Mark Hawkins, in its third quarter guidance Tuesday. The news came amid Salesforce's confirmation of its nearly $28 billion stock cash purchase of Slack Technologies, its biggest deal to date.
San Francisco-based Salesforce, which gained renown for its customer relationship management (CRM) software, said Hawkins would be replaced by company president and chief legal officer, Amy Weaver, following his January 31 retirement.
On February 1, Hawkins will transition into an advisory role as CFO emeritus, a role he will maintain until October 2021.
Hawkins has led Salesforce's finance since 2014. During his tenure, Salesforce ballooned to a market capitalization of more than $200 billion, acquired data-analytics platform Tableau Software for more than $15 billion in stock, and acquired cloud-application builder MuleSoft for nearly $6.5 billion.
"While we are happy for Mark as he charts his next chapter, we are fortunate to have another great leader and seasoned operator to turn to in Amy as our next CFO," Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said. "Mark and Amy have been incredibly effective partners in the operations of the company, and with Mark staying on as an advisor for an extended period we expect to have a very smooth transition."
Hawkins has been a finance leader for more than 35 years at software and tech companies, including Autodesk, Logitech, Dell and Hewlett-Packard. He spent five years as Autodesk's finance chief, and three years as CFO and senior vice president of finance and IT at Logitech.
On a Tuesday earnings call with investors, Benioff listed the company's achievements under Hawkins' six-year leadership, including quintupling its revenue to $21.1 billion and growing its employee base to 54,000.
"Mark, you set the foundation," Benioff said. "We all know it takes a great CFO to help scale a company that well."
"I really deeply believe we are in a great position of strength, and we are getting stronger," Hawkins said. "I will be the company's strongest advocate once we go through this nearly a year of a transition, which I'm excited to be a part of. And I get to work hand-in-hand with a dear friend Amy Weaver, who I have the utmost respect for as an executive, as a partner and who's going to be an amazing CFO."
Weaver, Hawkins's successor, joined the company in 2013 as senior vice president and general counsel, serving in legal and corporate affairs roles before becoming Chief Legal Officer in January.
Prior to Salesforce, she spent five years as senior vice president and deputy general counsel at Expedia Group, and worked as an associate and attorney at law firms Perkins Coie LLP and Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP.
"[Weaver] is an amazing person, a core part of our executive team, a core part of our entire company, core with our board of directors, [and] my core consigliere," Benioff said on the call.
"My focus will be to support that momentum as we continue to grow, as well as to scale the business efficiently," Weaver said on the call.
Salesforce's acquisition deal must still clear Slack shareholder and regulatory approval, a hurdle that could extend through mid-2021.
"Salesforce is your 'address book' and Slack your 'communication channel,'" Rick Nucci, co-founder and CEO of SaaS start-up Guru told CIO Dive. "This could be a much better way to connect with customers and now Salesforce can own that communication end-to-end."
"The Street would like a veteran like Hawkins to oversee the closing process and integration of Slack," Wedbush Securities managing director Dan Ives told the Journal. "It's the biggest deal they have done and they are losing their CFO."