Good morning, Broadsheet readers! AMD CEO Lisa Su is going head to head with Nvidia, Norway's sovereign wealth fund is voting against all-male corporate boards in Japan, and Slack CEO Lidiane Jones is working to better integrate the communications tool with its parent Salesforce. Happy Pride Month!
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- Joining forces. Last year, Lidiane Jones was working for Salesforce as an exec overseeing experience cloud, commerce cloud, and marketing cloud products for the enterprise software giant from her home base of Boston. In late 2022, she learned that Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield, whose company Salesforce had acquired in 2021, was planning to exit—and she only found out because she was a candidate for his job.
With Butterfield's departure, Jones became CEO of the well-known workplace communications tool that Salesforce had purchased for $27.7 billion, its most expensive acquisition ever. The integration of the two businesses hasn't been smooth sailing, with reported tension between Butterfield and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
So Jones has been tasked with improving the integration of Salesforce and Slack—from their products to their cultures. It's a mandate she's prepared for; as a Microsoft exec, she oversaw the integrations of multiple startups into the tech giant. “There’s always patterns that are not too different,” Jones told me in an interview at Boston's Salesforce tower for a new story in the May/June issue of Fortune. “The biggest one is just understanding each other’s language.”
Personally, she also knows what it's like to feel like the odd one out and adapt to a new home. Jones was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, and moved to the U.S. to attend the University of Michigan. She remembers her first year in the United States as the hardest transition of her life: “It was like, 'Oh, my God, what am I doing here?'” she recalls.
She's leaning on those experiences to help ease the integration of Slack into Salesforce. Product-wise, that means helping each platform take on the best qualities of the other. She wants Salesforce, known as a critical but clunky enterprise tool, to adopt Slack's user-friendly interface. And Slack can learn from Salesforce's domination as a money-making enterprise platform.
Right now, Slack accounts for just 5% of Salesforce's total sales. Jones's vision is for the beloved product to be the ultimate "front door" for Salesforce customers, the first thing they check in the morning to figure out the rest of their day. Wall Street has been skeptical of the price Salesforce paid for Slack but is aligned on that long-term vision. “[Slack] hasn’t been the growth driver they expected it to be,” says Baird analyst Rob Oliver. “But I don’t think that says much about the long-term value of Slack.”
Read Jones's full interview from the new issue of Fortune here.
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This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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