Salesforce names Keith Block COO

Block is a 26-year Oracle veteran who ​joined Salesforce in 2013 to serve as the company's president and vice chairman.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Salesforce on Tuesday said it has named Keith Block as the company's COO. Block replaces George Hu, who left Salesforce to found the startup behind workplace feedback app Peer.

As for Block, the 26-year Oracle veteran joined Salesforce in 2013 to serve as the company's president and vice chairman.

Block was somewhat of a controversial figure when he joined Salesforce, mainly due to the nature of his exit from Oracle. He was essentially fired from Oracle in 2012 after revelations that he made derogatory remarks surrounding Oracle's $7.3 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

Thanks to the contentious trial between Oracle and HP, Block was in the unenviable position of having some of his internal instant message exchanges shared as evidence.

In those messages, Block said Oracle "bought a dog" when it acquired Sun Microsystems. In another, Block called out Oracle president Mark Hurd for generating "lots of noise, not much results."

He also likened Sun's hardware as a "pig in lipstick at best" following the disclosure of the instant message communications during Oracle and HP's litigation warm-up match.

But in spite of his unsavory exit from Oracle, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff touted Block as being "the best sales executive the enterprise software industry has ever seen."

Now in the COO seat, Block will oversee Salesforce's day-to-day operations, on top of his role leading Salesforce's global sales, alliances and channels, industry strategy and consulting services.

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