CEOs are asking if they need to “unleash” their inner Elon

  • Tech CEOs are watching how Elon Musk’s drastic cuts are having an impact on Twitter.
  • Among them is Marc Benioff, who told Insider that CEOs are asking, “Do they need to unleash their own Elon within?”
  • Salesforce launched its own cost-cutting plan amid activist investors circling the company.

Since Elon Musk took over Twitter late last year, he has drastically transformed the social media company, cutting costs, cutting headcount and closing offices.

Tech CEOs and investors are watching how it all unfolds – including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

“Every CEO in Silicon Valley has looked at what Elon Musk has done and been like, ‘Do they need to unleash their own Elon within themselves?'” Benioff said in an interview with Insider on Thursday.

“That’s an existential question if you’re any executive at the company,” Benioff added. “You have to look at him and say, ‘Wow, that’s a very unorthodox leadership style,’ but like I said, you can’t underestimate what he’s done.”

Salesforce launched its own cost-cutting plan amid activist investors circling the company. It’s cutting 10% of its workforce, and a draft business plan seen by Insider says Salesforce aims to increase profit margins to over 30% by limiting headcount growth, reducing general and administrative expenses, sales and marketing expenses, and real Spending reduced estate.

In the draft plan, Salesforce instructs employees to “work lean and mean” and “spend like you own it” and not let considerations like company culture get in the way, and to denounce obstacles like policies that Favoring culture over efficiency, or “embracing culture”. as an apology” for not responding to changes.

Salesforce reported strong quarterly results on Wednesday, announced a major new share buyback and signaled it would hold off on large acquisitions for the time being. The report showed that Benioff’s new efficiency offensive is showing results.

“I had no choice but to intervene”

After co-CEO Bret Taylor left Salesforce in late November, Benioff said he was becoming more involved in the company’s operations.

“I had no choice but to step in and manage the company’s performance,” Benioff told Insider. “And those are the results you’re seeing here today with these numbers.”

Benioff still hasn’t satisfied Elliott Management, one of the activist investors who’ve built a large stake in Salesforce in recent months. Elliott said Wednesday the company needs a “sustainable leadership plan.”

Since co-founding Salesforce in 1999, Benioff has led with a focus on growth most of the time, and some insiders worry he’s not up to the task of cutting costs.

However, in his interview with Insider, Benioff said he went through similarly difficult times, citing changes Salesforce had to make during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

“Now we have to make small adjustments,” he said. “And that doesn’t mean our culture is changing, it just means we need to run a business. This business is business, but business can be the best platform for change.”

Are you a Salesforce rep or have insights to share? Contact Ashley Stewart via email ([email protected]) or send a secure message from a private device via Signal (+1-425-344-8242).

Contact Ellen Thomas via email ([email protected]) or send a secure message from a device outside of work on Signal: (+1-646-847-9416).

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