Slack founding CEO Stewart Butterfield to depart company in January

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Slack’s leader becomes latest to leave the Salesforce organization.

Stewart Butterfield, the founding CEO of Vancouver-founded instant messaging company Slack, will be stepping down from his role in January.

Lidiane Jones, currently executive vice president and and general manager of digital experiences clouds at Salesforce, made a statement on Twitter on Monday noting that she will take over for Butterfield as CEO of Slack.

Business Insider was first to report Butterfield’s resignation. A spokesperson for Salesforce confirmed the move to BetaKit, adding that Butterfield was “instrumental” in selecting Jones as the next Slack CEO.

Butterfield’s resignation comes at a time when a slew of Salesforce executives are making their own exits from the organization. During its third-quarter earnings report, Salesforce said that its co-CEO Bret Taylor will be leaving at the beginning of next year. Tableau Software CEO Mark Nelson announced his own departure from the corporation last week. Salesforce acquired Tableau in 2019 through an all-stock deal worth $15.7 billion.

Butterfield has led Slack since its inception, building it out to a multi billion company from its roots as a game developing firm in Vancouver.

CNBC reported on Monday that Tamar Yehoshua, Slack’s product chief; and Jonathan Prince, senior vice president of marketing, brand and communications, will also depart. Several Slack executives, in addition to Butterfield, have left in the past year. This includes former chief marketing officer Julie Liegl and former chief security officer Sean Catlett.

Butterfield has led Slack since its inception, building it out to a multi billion company (approximately $28 billion) from its roots as a game developing firm in Vancouver. Slack was acquired by Salesforce in 2020.

Prior to finding success in Slack, Butterfield co-founded photo sharing site Flickr in 2004 with Caterina Fake. Yahoo acquired Flickr in 2005, and later sold the company to SmugMug, which also operates in the image hosting space.

Slack, which was initially created as an internal tool for Butterfield’s company, Tiny Speck, provides an online platform for professional and organization communications. Tiny Speck later launched Slack in 2013, after shutting down its first product, which was a computer game.

RELATED: Salesforce completes acquisition of Slack

Slack, which stands for “searchable log of all conversation and knowledge,” was adopted as Tiny Speck’s new name shortly after its commercialization. The company started trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2019 through a direct listing.

Before it went public, Slack raised approximately $1.2 billion in total funding. This comprises a $160 million round in 2015, a $200 million round in 2016, a $250 million investment from SoftBank, and $427 million in Series H financing in 2018.

A year after becoming an NYSE-listed firm, Slack was acquired by Salesforce in 2020 for $27.7 billion USD in cash and stock.

Salesforce, which debuted on the NYSE in 2004, has seen its share price decline on the exchange by about 27 percent in the past six months, trading at $133.93 at press time.

Featured image courtesy from Britannica.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a staff writer for BetaKit.

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