Marc Benioff

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Marc Benioff
Marc Benioff 2015.jpg
Born (1964-09-25) September 25, 1964 (age 51)
San Francisco, California
Alma mater University of Southern California
Occupation Founder of
Net worth Increase US$3.8 billion (June 2015)[1]
Spouse(s) Lynne (Krilich) Benioff

Marc Russell Benioff (born September 25, 1964) is an American internet entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of, a cloud computing company. As of February 2015, he owns approximately $3 billion worth of Salesforce shares,[2] although the company has never reported a profit.

Benioff started in March 1999 in a rented San Francisco apartment[3] and defined its mission as The End of Software®. He is “credited with turning the software industry on its head” by using the Internet to “revamp the way software programs are designed and distributed.”[4] He has long evangelized software as a service as the model that would replace traditional enterprise software. He is the creator of the term “platform as a service” and has extended’s reach by allowing customers to build their own applications on the company’s architecture, or in the “cloud.”[5] He is the author of three books, including the national best seller Behind the Cloud.[6] He currently serves on the board of Cisco Systems.

Early life and education[edit]

Benioff was raised in a Jewish family[7][8] in the San Francisco metropolitan area.[9] He graduated from Burlingame High School in 1982.[10] Benioff received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California[1] in 1986.


While still in high school Benioff sold his first application, How to Juggle, for $75. At 15 he founded Liberty Software, creating and selling games for the Atari 8-bit computer among others.[11][12] Epyx published his King Arthur's Heir, The Nightmare, Escape from Vulcan's Isle, and Crypt of the Undead,[13][14] and by 16 Benioff was earning royalties of $1,500 a month, enough to pay for college.[12] During USC he had internships as an assembly language programmer at the Macintosh division of Apple Computer, where he was inspired by the company and its co-founder, Steve Jobs.[15]

Benioff expected to continue programming after college, but USC professors advised him to obtain customer-oriented work experience and Benioff joined Oracle Corporation after graduation in a customer-service role.[12] Prior to founding, he was at Oracle for 13 years in a variety of executive positions in sales, marketing, and product development. At 23, he was named Oracle's Rookie of the Year and three years later he was promoted to vice president, the company's youngest person to hold that title.[16]

Influence and honors[edit]

In 2010 Fortune named him one of the Smartest 50 People in Tech[17] as well as one of the Top 50 People in Business.[18] The San Francisco Business Times named Benioff 2009 Executive of the Year, "for defying the fierce economic downdraft--and taking the lead role in the creation of an industry."[19]

In 2007, Benioff was the National Winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.[20]

He was appointed by President George W. Bush as the co-chairman of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee and served from 2003–2005, overseeing the publishing of critical reports on health care information technology, cybersecurity, and computational sciences. has received many accolades including a Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation award. It has been lauded as one of BusinessWeek’s Top 100 Most Innovative Companies, named No. 7 on The Wired 40, and twice selected as a Top Ten Disrupter by Forbes.[21] In addition, Forbes named one of America's Best Companies.[22]

Benioff received a honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Southern California on May 16, 2014.[23]


Benioff pioneered the 1/1/1 integrated philanthropic model, by which companies contribute 1 percent of profits, 1 percent of equity, and 1 percent of employee hours back to the communities it serves. Parts of this 1/1/1 model have been adopted by many other companies, including Google.[24] In 2005, the members of the World Economic Forum named him as one of its Young Global Leaders.[25] In 2007 the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy presented Benioff with the Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Award and in 2008 invited him to become a director of the board.[26]

In June 2010, Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Krilich[27] announced a $100 million gift to UCSF Children's Hospital with the goal of not only seeing the new hospital built but significantly advancing children’s health worldwide.[28] In 2010, Benioff and his wife were named one of the Top 25 Most Effective Philanthropists by Barron’s.[29]

In 2014, Marc Benioff donated another $100 million to UCSF and Oakland Children's Hospital (both now called Benioff Children's Hospitals).

Benioff credits Mata Amritanandamayi with inspiring his philanthropic business models, stating "But the most pivotal meeting for me was with Mata Amritanandamayi, … It was she who introduced me to the idea, and possibility, of giving back to the world while pursing my career ambitions. I realized that I didn’t have to make a choice between doing business and doing good. I could align these two values and strive to succeed at both simultaneously."[30]


  • Compassionate Capitalism: How Corporations Can Make Doing Good an Integral Part of Doing Well with Karen Southwick (2004)
  • The Business of Changing the World: 20 Great Leaders on Strategic Corporate Philanthropy with Carlye Adler (2006)
  • Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company and Revolutionized an Industry with Carlye Adler (2009)


  1. ^ a b Forbes: The World's Billionaires - Marc Benioff April 2014
  2. ^
  3. ^ Julie Moline. “It takes a salesforce,” NYSE Magazine, 2004. (retrieved 7/7/09)
  4. ^ Jon Swartz, “Salesforce CEO leads charge against software,” USA TODAY, 7/24/2007 (retrieved on 7/7/09)
  5. ^ Nicholas Kolakowski, “Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Talks Cloud Computing, Twitter,” eWeek. March 23, 2009 (retrieved 7/8/09)
  6. ^ marc benioff
  7. ^ Jerusalem Post: "Jews take 5 of top 6 spots in annual list of top US givers" By JACOB BERKMAN September 2, 2011
  8. ^ Jewish Philanthropy: "Jewish Philanthropy 2.0" February 23, 2011
  9. ^ Forbes: "Marc Benioff's Chance Encounter" by Victoria Barret May 27, 2010
  10. ^ San Francisco Gate: "Marc Benioff, CEO, makes philanthropy a priority" by Casey Newton July 24, 2011
  11. ^ Developers Conference keynote, May 21, 2007
  12. ^ a b c Benioff, Marc; Adler, Carlyle (2009). Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry. John Wiley & Sons. pp. xviii–xx. ISBN 9780470535929. 
  13. ^ "Epyx Adventures Weigh In". Softline. March 1983. pp. 42–43. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  14. ^ "The Players Guide to Fantasy Games". Electronic Games. June 1983. p. 47. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Newton, Casey (August 28, 2011). "Apple all-star alumni recall Steve Jobs' lessons". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  16. ^ Carlye Adler, The Fresh Prince of Software. FSB: Fortune Small Business. March 1, 2003. (retrieved on 7/7/09)
  17. ^ "The smartest people in tech". CNN. July 9, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Businessperson of the Year". CNN. November 19, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Marc Benioff: CEO defied gravity in 2009 – San Francisco Business Times". December 27, 2009. 
  20. ^ " Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff Named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 National Winner -" Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff Named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 National Winner -, 3 Dec. 2007. Web. 10 Apr. 2015. <>.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "The Short List". Forbes. December 30, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Commencement speaker Marc Benioff urges grads to ‘do something for others’". University of Southern California. May 16, 2014. 
  24. ^ Swartz, Jon (July 24, 2007). "Salesforce CEO leads charge against software". USA Today. 
  25. ^ (retrieved 7/7/09)
  26. ^ (retrieved 7/7/09)
  27. ^
  28. ^ Guth, Robert A. (June 17, 2010). "UCSF to Get $100 Million for Hospital". The Wall Street Journal. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ Benioff, Marc (October 19, 2009). Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry (1st ed.). Jossey-Bass. pp. Pages 2–3. ISBN 978-0470521168. 

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