Salesforce Is Appointing a ‘Chief Equality Officer’

Salesforce Is Appointing a ‘Chief Equality Officer’

At the annual TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, CEO Marc Benioff announced that the new member of the sales software company’s C-suite would be announced next week and would report directly to him, TechCrunch’s Ron Miller explains:

Benioff, speaking on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco with editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino, talked about his commitment to helping improve the world. While he has built charitable efforts and equality into his own company, and he admits there is a self-serving component to this, he believes that companies need to give back. “We can just focus on our own results, our own tech, but you won’t get the joy that comes from giving, the real pleasure of helping people. You’re not only helping other people, you’re helping yourself,” Benioff says. …

[W]hile profit and building great products is an integral part of [the value system Salesforce espouses, Benioff] hopes companies can use the wealth they gain by making great products to help make the world a better place.

The Chief Equality Officer will build those values into the fabric of the organization, bringing a voice directly to the C suite.

At the Drum, Haley Velasco notes how this new role fits in with Benioff’s assertively progressive vision for his organization:

In 2015, Salesforce worked to equalize salaries for men and women in the company by spending $3m in 2015 to close the technology gender pay gap within the company’s own walls. According to Salesforce’s EVP of global employee success, Cindy Robbins, 1,000 — six percent — of employees received a salary adjustment.

Additionally, Salesforce has committed millions of dollars to public schools — donating $8.5m to the San Francisco and Oakland public school districts this year — and has opposed and worked to overturn anti-L.G.B.T. laws in states like Indiana, Georgia and North Carolina. Thanks to the company’s “1-1-1” program —where it contributes one percent of its equity, one percent of its profit and one percent of its employees’ time to a non-profit foundation — Salesforce has provided almost 2 million hours of volunteer work and has given out $130m in grants (its target is $140m for 2017).

“Silicon Valley doesn’t have to be stingy, like it traditionally has been,” he said.

But Salesforce still has a ways to go toward closing the race and gender gaps in its own workforce, USA Today’s Jessica Guynn adds:

Salesforce.com suffers from the same lack of diversity as the rest of Silicon Valley tech companies. At Salesforce, seven out of 10 employees and eight out of 10 senior leaders around the globe are men. Like other major tech companies, gender is not the only gap facing Salesforce.com. In the U.S., 2% of Salesforce employees are African American and 4% are Hispanic.

Salesforce.com came under fire last year from people of color for focusing diversity efforts on closing the gender gap. On Tuesday, Benioff made a strong statement on the importance of closing the racial gap in tech. “I believe that we have to have greater racial equality in our industry,” Benioff said. “We have to move our standards up. We have to move the numbers up.”