Marc Benioff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marc Benioff
Benioff in 2021
Marc Russell Benioff

(1964-09-25) September 25, 1964 (age 59)
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 Time magazine 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 is the grandson of Marvin Lewis, a California trial attorney and once-time member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who championed the creation of the BART system.[8][9] Benioff grew up in Hillsborough[10] and graduated from Burlingame High School in 1982.[11] 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.[11][12] Benioff is a second cousin of showrunner and television writer David Benioff, known for Game of Thrones.[13] He is married to Lynne Benioff and has two children. The family lives in San Francisco, California.[3][11]


While in high school, Benioff sold his first application, How to Juggle, for $75.[11] 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.[11][14][15] Royalties from these games helped Benioff pay for college.[11][16]

While at USC, Benioff had an internship as a programmer at Apple where he wrote assembly code for the Macintosh.[17][18] He joined Oracle Corporation in a customer-service role after graduating.[11] 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[19] in a San Francisco apartment and defined its mission in a marketing statement as "The End of Software."[20] 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.[21] Benioff extended Salesforce's offerings in the early 2000s with the idea of a platform that allowed developers to create applications.[22] Salesforce is now the biggest employer in San Francisco and the anchor tenant of Salesforce Tower, the tallest building in San Francisco.[23]

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.[24][25][26][27][28] In 2021, two companies Time Venture backed, Planet Labs and IonQ, went public.[29][30][31] Benioff is a member of Business Roundtable, an advocacy group of CEOs, and the Business Council.[32][33] In November 2021, Benioff became co-CEO of Salesforce when Bret Taylor's promotion to co-CEO was announced.[34] One year later, Bret Taylor stepped down as Salesforce co-CEO, leaving Marc Benioff as the sole CEO again.[35] As of February 2022, Benioff had an estimated net worth of US$8.31 billion according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.[36]

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.[37] In 2006, he co-wrote The Business of Changing the World: 20 Great Leaders on Strategic Corporate Philanthropy with Carlye Adler.[37] 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.[38] In 2019, he again co-wrote Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change, with Monica Langley.[37] The book became a New York Times bestseller.[39]


Benioff during the WEF 2013

In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed Benioff co-chair of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee.[40] In 2009, Benioff was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and is a member of its board of trustees.[41][42] In 2012, he was named one of the "Best CEOs in the World" by Barron's[43] and received The Economist's Innovation Award.[44] In 2014, Fortune readers voted him "Businessperson of the Year."[45] In 2016, Fortune named him one of the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders."[46] In 2019, he was recognized as one of the 10 Best-Performing CEOs by Harvard Business Review[47] and as the CNN Business CEO of 2020.[48]


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.[49][50][51]

In 2010, the Benioffs donated $100 million to UCSF Children's Hospital. In 2014, they donated an additional $100 million to the hospital and $50 million to fund research on premature birth. In 2019, the Benioffs donated $25 million to UCSF to create the UCSF Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine; $10 million to Stanford University for the Microbiome Therapies Initiative;[52] and $35 million to establish a Prostate Cancer Research Initiative at University of California, San Francisco.[53]

In 2016, Benioff announced a $10 million donation to the University of California at Santa Barbara to establish the Benioff Ocean Initiative.[54] 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.[55] 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.[56] 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.[57]

In March 2020, Benioff procured 50 million pieces of personal protective equipment for hospitals and COVID-19 first responders in the United States.[58] In April 2020, Benioff donated more than $1 million to Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.[59] In April 2021, Benioff and Salesforce sent a plane filled with medical supplies to India to help the country handle the COVID-19 pandemic.[60]

In October 2020, Marc and Lynne Benioff were founding partners of Prince William's Earthshot Prize, a program for finding solutions to environmental issues.[61] In October 2021, Benioff pledged a $200 million donation to plant trees and fund ecologically focused entrepreneurs.[62] Salesforce also donated $100 million to the same causes.[62][63] In 2021, they were founding members of the World Economic Forum's Friends of Ocean Action initiative, providing approximately $11 million in funding.[55] Marc and Lynne Benioff have been included in lists of top givers by Forbes and the Chronicle of Philanthropy.[64][65][66][67]

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.[68] 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.[69]

In April 2015, Benioff announced that he would review salaries at Salesforce to ensure men and women were paid equally.[70] 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.[71] The governor vetoed the bill.[72]

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.[73] 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.[74] In September 2021, Benioff announced that Salesforce would relocate any Texas employees who wanted to move after an abortion law went into effect.[75][76] In 2023, Benioff stated that San Francisco "will never go back to the way it was before the pandemic" and recommended that city leadership convert old office space into housing and hire more police.[77]


  1. ^ "The Enduring Hope of Jane Goodall". September 30, 2021. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  2. ^ "Benioff, Marc R. 1964- [WorldCat Identities]".
  3. ^ a b c d e "Marc Benioff". Forbes. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Chozick, Amy; Gelles, David (September 16, 2018). "Time Magazine Is Bought by Marc Benioff, Salesforce Billionaire". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Jerusalem Post: "Jews take 5 of top 6 spots in annual list of top US givers" By JACOB BERKMAN September 2, 2011
  6. ^ Jewish Philanthropy: "Jewish Philanthropy 2.0" February 23, 2011
  7. ^ a b Rogers, Matt Weinberger, Taylor Nicole. "The rise of Marc Benioff, the bombastic owner of Time Magazine who just became Salesforce's sole CEO, has an $8 billion fortune, and owns a 5-acre compound in Hawaii". Business Insider. Retrieved March 30, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "Marc Benioff, Salesforce, and the monorail-loving SF supervisor who inspired them". October 15, 2019.
  9. ^ "Marvin e. Lewis, 84, A Pioneering Lawyer". The New York Times. October 7, 1991.
  10. ^ "Russell Benioff, owner of apparel chain, dies". January 17, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Newton, Casey (July 24, 2011). "Marc Benioff, CEO, makes philanthropy a priority". SFGate.
  12. ^ Lynley, Matt. "Frat Boys Are Taking Over The Tech World". Business Insider. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  13. ^ Bort, Julie (April 12, 2015). "How these famous Benioffs are related". Business Insider. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  14. ^ Duberman, David (January 1984). "ROM Fun: Survey of recent cartridge games". Antic. pp. 62–63.
  15. ^ Bort, Julie. "The Fabulous Life Of Tech Billionaire Marc Benioff". Business Insider. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  16. ^ 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 978-0-470-53592-9.
  17. ^ Farber, Dan (September 10, 2013). "Marc Benioff explains Steve Jobs' spirituality and chides Apple". CNET.
  18. ^ Sauer, Megan (February 22, 2022). "A teenage Marc Benioff cold-called an Apple executive — and got his dream internship". CNBC. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  19. ^ "The stratospheric rise of Marc Benioff and Salesforce". Fortune. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  20. ^ Salesforce Blog: "Marc Benioff: How to Turn a Simple Idea into a High-Growth Company" By Marc Benioff March 8, 2013
  21. ^ "The Marketing Genius of Marc Benioff". ViralWeGrow. December 6, 2020. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  22. ^ "The story of why Marc Benioff gifted the domain to Steve Jobs". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  23. ^ Wehner, Greg (July 16, 2023). "San Francisco's downtown 'never going back to the way it was,' Salesforce's Marc Benioff says". FOXBusiness. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  24. ^ Hiller, Jennifer (December 2021). "WSJ News Exclusive | Nuclear-Fusion Startup Lands $1.8 Billion as Investors Chase Star Power". Wall Street Journal.
  25. ^ "Commonwealth Fusion, Backed by Gates, Soros, Benioff, Raises $1.8B". December 2021.
  26. ^ "NCX raises $50M for natural capital markets". March 2, 2022.
  27. ^ "Marc Benioff backs start-up that uses satellites to count trees and pays people not to cut them down". CNBC. March 2, 2022.
  28. ^ "Universal Hydrogen Raises $62 Million in Series B". October 14, 2021.
  29. ^ "Satellite imagery company Planet Labs is going public, backed by Google, BlackRock and Marc Benioff". CNBC. July 7, 2021.
  30. ^ Maurer, Mark (November 29, 2021). "Planet Labs Looks to Expand Software Offerings, Win New Customers with IPO Funds". Wall Street Journal.
  31. ^ "IonQ Takes Quantum Computing Public with A $2 Billion Deal". Forbes.
  32. ^ "Top execs discuss 'mission that's above profits' in Detroit event". October 4, 2018.
  33. ^ "Marc Benioff says CEOs must be held more accountable — and pay more taxes, too | CNN Business". CNN. October 17, 2019.
  34. ^ "Salesforce promotes Bret Taylor to co-CEO alongside Benioff". CNBC. November 30, 2021.
  35. ^ "Bret Taylor steps down as Salesforce co-CEO". CNBC. November 30, 2022.
  36. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index". Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  37. ^ a b c "The goodness business: how woke capitalism turned virtue into profit". New Statesman. October 20, 2021. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  38. ^ Kim, Eugene. "Billionaire CEO Marc Benioff is writing a sequel to his best-selling memoir about Salesforce — and wants your help". Business Insider. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  39. ^ "Books". New York Times. November 15, 2018.
  40. ^ Feloni, Richard. "Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff explains why a Hindu guru and Colin Powell were critical mentors". Business Insider. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  41. ^ "World Economic Forum Announces New Batch Of Young Global Leaders (Mark Zuckerberg, Chad Hurley, Kevin Rose And More)". TechCrunch. February 25, 2009.
  42. ^ "C.E.O.s Were Our Heroes, at Least According to Them". The New York Times. January 13, 2022. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  43. ^ Barron's: "World's Best CEOs" By Andrew Bary March 26, 2012
  44. ^ The Economist: "And the winners were..." By The Economist Staff December 1, 2012
  45. ^ Fortune: "Vote: Businessperson of the Year - Championship Round" By Fortune Editors November 12, 2014
  46. ^ Fortune: "The World's 50 Greatest Leaders" By Geoff Colvin March 25, 2016
  47. ^ "The Best-Performing CEOs in the World, 2019". Harvard Business Review. November 2019.
  48. ^ "Marc Benioff of Salesforce is the CNN Business CEO of 2020". CNN. December 23, 2020.
  49. ^ "The stratospheric rise of Marc Benioff and Salesforce".
  50. ^ "Marc Benioff Reached Millionaire Status by Age 25 -- and 9 Other Things to Know About the Co-Founder of Salesforce". September 17, 2018.
  51. ^ "Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: The big giver". CNET. July 26, 2014.
  52. ^ "Gut check: Benioffs donate $35 million to further study of microbiome at UCSF, Stanford". August 13, 2019.
  53. ^ "Benioffs Give $35 Million for UCSF Prostate Cancer Research Initiative". Philanthropy News Digest. September 20, 2019. Retrieved March 12, 2023.
  54. ^ "Benioff's new philanthropic mission: The oceans". USA Today.
  55. ^ a b "Benioffs and Salesforce put $300m into combating climate change on eve of COP26 | Computer Weekly".
  56. ^ "UCSF Launches New Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative with $30M Gift". UCSF Launches New Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative with $30M Gift | UC San Francisco. May 2019.
  57. ^ "Marc Benioff picks a new fight with Silicon Valley — over trees". January 21, 2020.
  58. ^ Gelles, David (April 28, 2020). "Marc Benioff's $25 Million Blitz to Buy Protective Gear from China". The New York Times.
  59. ^ "San Francisco has 75 billionaires. Most of them aren't donating to local COVID-19 relief". April 30, 2020.
  60. ^ "Salesforce to send plane load of medical supplies to India: Founder Marc Benioff". The Economic Times.
  61. ^ "'Next 10 years are critical': Prince William backs £50m climate change project Earthshots". The National. October 8, 2020. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  62. ^ a b Dolan, Kerry A. "Salesforce Billionaire Marc Benioff Pledges $200 Million For Reforestation, Climate Entrepreneurs". Forbes. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  63. ^ "Marc and Lynne Benioff, Salesforce donate $300M to encourage climate action". TechCrunch. October 28, 2021. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  64. ^ "America's Top Givers of 2016". Forbes. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  65. ^ "No. 10 (tied): Marc R. and Lynne Benioff". February 6, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  66. ^ The Chronicle of Philanthropy: "Young Tech Donors Take Leading Role in Philanthropy 50" By Alex Daniels and Maria Di Mento February 8, 2015
  67. ^ The Chronicle of Philanthropy: "Bequests Put Conservative Billionaire Richard Scaife Atop List of America's 50 Biggest Donors" By Maria Di Mento and Drew Lindsay February 9, 2016
  68. ^ Indiana Business Journal: "Salesforce CEO: We're canceling travel to Indiana" By Jared Council March 26, 2015
  69. ^ The Huffington Post: "The CEO Who Took On Indiana's Anti-LGBT Law — And Won" By Alexander C. Kaufman April 7, 2015
  70. ^ The Huffington Post: "Salesforce CEO Takes Radical Step To Pay Men And Women Equally" By Emily Peck April 23, 2015
  71. ^ Fortune: "Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Battles Georgia Over Gay Rights" By Jonathan Vanian February 26, 2016
  72. ^ Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "BREAKING: Nathan Deal vetoes Georgia's 'religious liberty' bill" By Greg Bluestein April 9, 2016
  73. ^ Levin, Sam (October 17, 2018). "Salesforce CEO: tech billionaires 'hoard their money' and won't help homeless". The Guardian – via
  74. ^ Ghaffary, Shirin (November 14, 2018). "Marc Benioff says he had rabbis and imams supporting the Prop C homelessness tax — but not tech CEOs". Vox. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  75. ^ "Salesforce to help workers leave states over abortion laws". AP NEWS. September 11, 2021. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  76. ^ Novet, Jordan (September 11, 2021). "Salesforce offers to relocate employees and their families after Texas abortion law goes into effect". CNBC. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  77. ^ Wehner, Greg (July 16, 2023). "San Francisco's downtown 'never going back to the way it was,' Salesforce's Marc Benioff says". FOXBusiness. Retrieved February 7, 2024.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]