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Activist Shareholders Threaten Salesforce Board

In recent months, activist investors Starboard Value – and, more recently, Elliott Management – have acquired significant stakes in leading CRM software provider Salesforce. The company’s employees are concerned that the new investors could take steps that would lead to additional layoffs beyond those already announced by the company.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

Business Insider reports that more than just regular employees could receive walking papers:

It’s a very real possibility that these investors could oust most, if not all, of Salesforce’s board at once. And if that wasn’t enough, some analysts believe these activist firms could push Benioff to at least explore the possibility of divesting mega-acquisitions like Slack, MuleSoft, and Tableau. It could even lead to Salesforce ending its remote work policy and requiring at least some employees to come back to the office, analysts speculate.

Speaking to Insider, JMP Securities analyst Pat Walravens said replacing board members could be a good move. Five members, including co-CEO Marc Benioff, have served on the board for 15 years. According to Insider, Walravens thinks the loss of entrenched longtime board members could be a necessary injection of “fresh blood with new ideas” for Salesforce. “I think there’s pretty broad agreement that the board needs to be refreshed,” he said.

Executives could feel the crisis, Insider reports. Salesforce could cut investment in real estate to save money, and it could also change the way executives are paid.

The pressure from Elliott Management and Starboard Value comes as Salesforce is already facing a challenging economic environment due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to insiders, many believe the company will overcome these challenges thanks to its strong financial position and solid customer base.

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