Marc Benioff

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Marc Benioff
Marc Benioff.jpg
Benioff in 2021
Marc Russell Benioff

(1964-09-25) September 25, 1964 (age 58)
EducationUniversity of Southern California (BS)
Known forFounder, chairman and CEO, Salesforce
Co-chair and owner, Time[1]
SpouseLynne Krilich

Marc Russell Benioff (born September 25, 1964)[2] is an American internet entrepreneur and philanthropist. Benioff is best known as the co-founder, chairman and CEO of the software company Salesforce, as well as being the owner of the magazine Time since 2018.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Benioff was raised in a Jewish family[5][6] in the San Francisco Bay Area.[7] He graduated from Burlingame High School in 1982.[8] Benioff received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Southern California, where he was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, in 1986.[8][9]

Benioff is a second cousin of showrunner and television writer David Benioff, known for Game of Thrones.[10] He is married to Lynne Benioff and has two children. The family lives in San Francisco, California.[3][8]


While in high school, Benioff sold his first application, How to Juggle, for $75.[8] In 1979, when he was 15, Benioff founded Liberty Software, creating and selling games such as Flapper and King Arthur's Heir for the Atari 8-bit.[8][11][12] Royalties from these games helped Benioff pay for college.[8][13]

While at USC, Benioff had an internship as a programmer at Apple.[14] He joined Oracle Corporation in a customer-service role after graduating.[8] Benioff worked at Oracle for 13 years in a variety of sales, marketing, and product development roles.[3] At 23, he was named Oracle's Rookie of the Year. Three years later, he became the youngest person in the company's history to earn the title of vice president.[3]

Benioff founded Salesforce in 1999[15] in a San Francisco apartment and defined its mission in a marketing statement as "The End of Software."[16] This was a slogan he used frequently to preach about software on the Web, and used as a guerilla marketing tactic against the dominant CD-ROM CRM competitor Siebel at the time.[17] Benioff extended Salesforce's offerings in the early 2000s with the idea of a platform that allowed developers to create applications.[18]

Benioff also serves on the World Economic Forum's Board of Trustees and USC Board of Trustees.[3][7]

On September 16, 2018, Marc and his wife Lynne bought Time for $190 million.[4]

In 2019, Benioff started Time Ventures, a venture capital fund that has invested in multiple companies, including Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Universal Hydrogen and NCX.[19][20][21][22][23] In 2021, two companies Time Venture backed, Planet Labs and IonQ, went public.[24][25][26]

Benioff is a member of Business Roundtable, an advocacy group of CEOs, and the Business Council.[27][28]

In November 2021, Benioff became co-CEO of Salesforce when Bret Taylor's promotion to co-CEO was announced.[29] One year later, Bret Taylor stepped down as Salesforce co-CEO, leaving Marc Benioff as the sole CEO again.[30]

As of February 2022, Benioff had an estimated net worth of US$8.31 billion according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.[31]

Co-written work[edit]

Benioff has co-written four books about business and technology. In 2004, he co-wrote Compassionate Capitalism: How Corporations Can Make Doing Good an Integral Part of Doing Well with Karen Southwick.[32] In 2006, he co-wrote The Business of Changing the World: 20 Great Leaders on Strategic Corporate Philanthropy with Carlye Adler.[32] In 2009, he co-wrote Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company and Revolutionized an Industry, also with Carlye Adler.[33] In 2019, he again co-wrote Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change, with Monica Langley.[19] The book became a New York Times bestseller.[34]


Benioff during the WEF 2013

In 2003, President Bush appointed Benioff co-chair of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee.[35]

In 2009, Benioff was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and is a member of its board of trustees.[36][37]

In 2012, he was named one of the "Best CEOs in the World" by Barron's[38] and received The Economist's Innovation Award.[39]

In 2014, Fortune readers voted him "Businessperson of the Year."[40]

In 2016, Fortune magazine named him one of the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders."[41]

In 2019, he was recognized as one of the 10 Best-Performing CEOs by Harvard Business Review[42] and as the CNN Business CEO of 2020.[43]


Marc Benioff in 2009

In addition to founding Salesforce in 1999, Benioff also founded the Salesforce Foundation. The foundation uses a "1-1-1" approach to corporate philanthropy, where the company gives one percent of employee time as volunteer hours, one percent of its product and one percent of its revenue to charitable causes.[44][45][46]

In 2010, the Benioffs donated $100 million to UCSF Children's Hospital.[33] In 2014, they donated an additional $100 million to the hospital and $50 million to fund research on premature birth.[33] In 2019, the Benioffs donated $25 million to UCSF to create the UCSF Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine; $10 million to Stanford for the Microbiome Therapies Initiative;[47] and $35 million to establish a Prostate Cancer Research Initiative at UCSF.[48]

In 2016, Benioff announced a $10 million donation to the University of California - Santa Barbara to establish the Benioff Ocean Initiative.[49]

In 2017, the Benioffs partnered with the US National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to form the Pacific Islands Research and Conservation Programme.[50]

In 2019, the Benioffs donated $30 million to the Center for Vulnerable Populations for the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative to study the impacts of homelessness, housing, and health.[51]

In January 2020, Benioff announced that he and his wife would provide financial backing for to support a global initiative to plant and conserve 1 trillion trees over the next decade.[52]

In March 2020, Benioff procured 50 million pieces of personal protective equipment for hospitals and COVID-19 first responders in the United States.[53] In April 2020, Benioff donated more than $1 million to Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.[54] In April 2021, Benioff and Salesforce sent a plane filled with medical supplies to India to help the country handle the COVID-19 pandemic.[55]

In October 2020, Marc and Lynne Benioff were founding partners of Prince William's Earthshot Prize, a program for finding solutions to environmental issues.[56] In October 2021, Benioff pledged a $200 million donation to plant trees and fund ecologically-focused entrepreneurs.[57] Salesforce also donated $100 million to the same causes.[57][58]

In 2021, they were founding members of the World Economic Forum's Friends of Ocean Action initiative, providing approximately $11 million in funding.[50]

Marc and Lynne Benioff have been included in lists of top givers by Forbes and the Chronicle of Philanthropy.[59][60][61][62]

Social activism[edit]

In March 2015, Benioff announced Salesforce would cancel all employee programs and travel in the state of Indiana after the passing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill that would allow companies and individuals to choose not to serve LGBT individuals based on religious beliefs.[63] Benioff led an effort of business leaders fighting back against the legislation, leading to a revised version of the bill being signed into law that prohibited businesses from denying services to someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity.[64]

In April 2015, Benioff announced that he would review salaries at Salesforce to ensure men and women were paid equally.[65]

In February 2016, Benioff announced that Salesforce would reduce investments in Georgia and cancel a conference if HB 757, a bill that would allow businesses to decline services to same-sex couples, was passed.[66] The governor vetoed the bill.[67]

In an October 2018 interview with The Guardian, Benioff criticized other technology industry executives for "hoarding" their money and refusing to help the homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area.[68] In November, Benioff announced his support for San Francisco's Prop C measure that would increase taxes on large corporations to aid unhoused residents in the city.[69]

In September 2021, Benioff announced that Salesforce would relocate any Texas employees who wanted to move after an abortion law went into effect.[70][71]


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