Salesforce’s Marc Benioff Named Chief Executive’s 2022 CEO Of The Year

Ken Frazier calls Benioff 'a towering exemplar of what it means to be an innovative and forward-thinking leader.'

Chief Executive magazine today announced that Marc Benioff, co-founder, chair and co-CEO of Salesforce, has been named 2022 Chief Executive of the Year by his peer CEOs.

Benioff was selected by an independent committee for his decades of entrepreneurial leadership, which helped usher in the era of cloud computing and software-as-a-service, revolutionizing global business. They also recognized his philanthropic work and efforts at the vanguard of the stakeholder capitalism model of corporate stewardship.

“For more than two decades, Marc has been a towering exemplar of what it means to be an innovative and forward-thinking leader,” said Ken Frazier, the former CEO of Merck and Chief Executive’s 2021 CEO of the Year, who served on the selection committee. “As the founder and CEO of Salesforce, he consistently has achieved exceptional business and financial results for customers, employees and shareholders while standing tall in the public square for policies and principles that will foster greater sustainability, prosperity and equity within the business community and broader society.”

Said Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America and 2020 CEO of the Year: “Marc created a company and helped create an industry. Salesforce’s track record is among one of the premier companies in recent decades. At the same time, he has proved a company can deliver on profits and purpose and do it consistently. He has championed stakeholder capitalism and demonstrated its value. We are honored to have Marc as our CEO of the Year.”

Benioff founded Salesforce in his San Francisco apartment in 1999. Since then, it has grown to employ more than 77,000 people and become the leading CRM software provider in the world. Benioff and his wife, Lynne, have focused their philanthropy on healthcare, the environment, public education and homelessness. The Benioffs have given more than $250 million to the University of California, San Francisco to build UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland. The Benioffs have also established the Benioff Ocean Initiative at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, the UCSF Benioff Initiative for Prostate Cancer Research and the UCSF Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine, and they have provided the initial funding for the Stanford Microbiome Therapies Initiative.

A member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) board of trustees, Benioff co-founded 1t.org—the global movement to conserve, restore and grow 1 trillion trees—and the WEF Friends of Ocean Action. He also serves as the inaugural chair of WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco.

“I am grateful to Chief Executive magazine, my fellow CEOs who have chosen me for this award, and to the Salesforce Ohana who have done so much to create our great company,” Benioff said. “Business is the greatest platform for change, and we will continue to be guided by our core values of trust, customer success, innovation, equality, and sustainability.”

Said Carmine Di Sibio, chair and CEO, EY, and a member of the 2022 Selection Committee: “Marc Benioff is the gold standard for Founder CEO, combining both vision and execution in his leadership of Salesforce. In just over 20 years, he has grown the company to be a leading and innovative market force, including championing the software-as-a-service concept. Beyond his business and tech expertise, Marc is legendary among his fellow CEOs for his incredible breadth and depth of philanthropic efforts. His passion and personal commitment are making a difference in issues from sustainability, homelessness and children’s health. This award is a recognition of not only Marc’s accomplishments as CEO of Salesforce, but his contributions to humanity.”

Said Ted Bililies, Ph.D., chief talent officer, managing director, AlixPartners, adviser to the 2022 Selection Committee: “Marc is an exemplary transformative leader. He has been able to assemble, align and inspire some of the very best talent at Salesforce while restoring trust in leadership in many areas of society. Given the multiple disruptions we are living through, Marc’s creativity, compassion and resilience are an inspiration for all leaders.”

Benioff’s selection as 2022 CEO of the Year is scheduled to be celebrated at an invitation-only event hosted by Chief Executive Group this Fall.

About Chief Executive of the Year

Over the past 35 years, Chief Executive of the Year winners have been a who’s who of American business leadership, including Bill Gates, Brian Moynihan, Arne Sorenson, Michael Dell, A. G. Lafley, Marillyn Hewson, John Chambers, Bob Iger, Anne Mulcahy, Larry Bossidy, Andy Grove and Herb Kelleher, among others. The honor recognizes courageous, long-term executive leadership for shareholders and society.

About the 2022 Selection Committee

The Chief Executive of the Year was selected by a committee of distinguished peer CEOs. The 2022 committee consists of Ken Frazier, (former CEO, Merck; 2021 CEO of the Year) Brian Moynihan (chair and CEO, Bank of America and 2020 CEO of the Year), Marillyn Hewson, (former chair and CEO, Lockheed Martin; 2018 CEO of the Year), Adam Aron (president and CEO, AMC Entertainment), Carmine Di Sibio (global chair and CEO, EY Global), Dan Glaser (president and CEO, Marsh & McLennan), Fred Hassan (former chair, Bausch & Lomb; partner, Warburg Pincus), Tamara Lundgren (president and CEO, Schnitzer Steel), Robert Nardelli (CEO, XLR-8), Tom Quinlan III (chair, president and CEO, LSC Communications), Jeffrey Sonnenfeld (president and CEO, The Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute). Ted Bililies, Ph.D., chief talent officer, managing director, AlixPartners, is the exclusive adviser to the 2022 Selection Committee.

About Chief Executive/Chief Executive Group

Chief Executive Group, a leading community for business leaders worldwide, exists to improve the performance of U.S. CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, CHROs and corporate directors. We publish Chief Executive magazine, ChiefExecutive.net, Corporate Board Member magazine, BoardMember.com, StrategicCFO360.com, StrategicCIO360.com and StrategicCHRO360.com, and run some of the nation’s most essential peer-networking communities, including The CFO Leadership Council, Chief and Senior Executive Networks, Corporate Board Member Network and The American College of Corporate Directors. Learn more at ChiefExecutiveGroup.com.


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