Slack CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield is leaving Salesforce in January, reports Business Insider. Butterfield helped co-found Slack in 2013 after Glitch — a social MMORPG — was shut down and Butterfield turned his focus to workplace communication tools instead. Butterfield is leaving Salesforce, the company that acquired Slack for $27.7 billion last year, after less than two years at Salesforce.
News of Butterfield’s departure, reportedly announced in a Slack channel, comes just days after Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor also announced he’s leaving the company. “This has nothing to do with Bret’s departure,” Butterfield reportedly wrote in a Slack channel. “Planning has been in the works for several months! Just weird timing.”
Lidiane Jones, currently executive VP & GM of digital experiences clouds, will take over as Slack CEO in January. Salesforce acquired Slack last year to add to the company’s suite of enterprise software, but it maintained the brand, functionality, and leadership. Slack hasn’t changed much in the past year as a result of the acquisition, but as Butterfield departs, it’s likely we’re about to witness a new era of Slack and potentially deeper integration into Salesforce products.
Butterfield led Slack to the type of success that’s not always guaranteed in Silicon Valley while battling giants like Microsoft and navigating the explosion of remote work during the pandemic. In an interview with The Verge in 2020, Butterfield said “Microsoft is perhaps unhealthily preoccupied with killing us” just months before Slack filed an anti-competitive complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission.
Butterfield also previously co-founded Flickr, the photo sharing site acquired by Yahoo. All eyes will now be on wherever Butterfield heads next or if he’s planning to return to his startup roots.