Marc Benioff

Marc Russell Benioff (born September 25, 1964) is an American internet entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the co-founder, chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce, an enterprise cloud computing company.[2] In September 2018, Benioff acquired Time.[3]

Marc Benioff
Marc Benioff 2015.jpg
Benioff in 2015
Marc Russell Benioff

(1964-09-25) September 25, 1964 (age 57)
EducationUniversity of Southern California (BS)
Known forFounder, chairman and co-CEO, Salesforce
Co-chair and owner, Time[1]
Spouse(s)Lynne Krilichh

Early life and educationEdit

Benioff was raised in a Jewish family[4][5] in the San Francisco Bay Area.[6] He graduated from Burlingame High School in 1982.[7] Benioff received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Southern California, where he was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, in 1986.[7][8]

Benioff is a second cousin of showrunner and television writer David Benioff, known for Game of Thrones.[9] He is married to Lynne Benioff and has two children. The family lives in San Francisco, California.[2][7]


While in high school, Benioff sold his first application, How to Juggle, for $75.[7] In 1979, when he was 15, Benioff founded Liberty Software, creating and selling games such as Flapper and King Arthur's Heir for the Atari 8-bit.[7][10][11] Royalties from these games helped Benioff pay for college.[7][12]

While at USC, Benioff had an internship as a programmer at Apple.[13] He joined Oracle Corporation in a customer-service role after graduating.[7] Benioff worked at Oracle for 13 years in a variety of sales, marketing, and product development roles.[2] At 23, he was named Oracle's Rookie of the Year. Three years later, he became the youngest person in the company's history to earn the title of vice president.[2]

Benioff founded Salesforce in 1999[14] in a San Francisco apartment and defined its mission in a marketing statement as "The End of Software."[15] This was a slogan he used frequently to preach about software on the Web, and used as a guerilla marketing tactic against the dominant CD-ROM CRM competitor Siebel at the time.[16] Salesforce was the first company to offer software as a service, which allowed people and companies to rent software over the internet instead of installing the programs on machines.[17] Benioff extended Salesforce's offerings in the early 2000s with the idea of a platform that allowed developers to create applications.[18]

Benioff also serves on the World Economic Forum's Board of Trustees and USC Board of Trustees.[2][6]

On September 16, 2018, Marc and his wife Lynne bought Time for $190 million.[3]

Co-written workEdit

Benioff has co-written four books about business and technology. In 2004, he co-wrote Compassionate Capitalism: How Corporations Can Make Doing Good an Integral Part of Doing Well with Karen Southwick.[19] In 2006, he co-wrote The Business of Changing the World: 20 Great Leaders on Strategic Corporate Philanthropy with Carlye Adler.[19] In 2009, he co-wrote Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company and Revolutionized an Industry, also with Carlye Adler.[20] In 2019, he again co-wrote Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change, with Monica Langley.[19]

Influence and honorsEdit

Benioff during the WEF 2013

In 2003, President Bush appointed Benioff co-chair of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee.[21] In 2009, Benioff was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and is a member of its Board of Trustees.[22][23] In 2012, he was named one of the "Best CEOs in the World" by Barron's[24] and received The Economist's Innovation Award.[25] In 2014, Fortune readers voted him "Businessperson of the Year."[26] In 2016, Fortune magazine named him one of the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders."[27]


Marc Benioff in 2009

Benioff founded the Salesforce Foundation in 2000.[28] Marc and Lynne Benioff have been included in lists of top givers by Forbes and the Chronicle of Philanthropy.[29][30][31][32]

In 2010, the Benioffs donated $100 million to UCSF Children's Hospital.[33] In 2014, they donated an additional $100 million to the hospital and $50 million to fund research on premature birth.[33]

In October 2020, Marc and Lynne Benioff were founding partners of Prince William's Earthshot Prize, a program for finding solutions to environmental issues.[34] In October 2021, Benioff pledged a $200 million donation to plant trees and fund ecologically-focused entrepreneurs.[35] Salesforce also donated $100 million to the same causes.[35][36]

In 2019, the Benioffs donated $30 million to the Center for Vulnerable Populations for the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative to study the impacts of homelessness, housing, and health.[37]

Social activismEdit

In March 2015, Benioff announced Salesforce would cancel all employee programs and travel in the state of Indiana after the passing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill that would allow companies and individuals to choose not to serve LGBT individuals based on religious beliefs.[38] Benioff led an effort of business leaders fighting back against the legislation, leading to a revised version of the bill being signed into law that prohibited businesses from denying services to someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity.[39]

In April 2015, Benioff announced that he would review salaries at Salesforce to ensure men and women were paid equally.[40]

In February 2016, Benioff announced that Salesforce would reduce investments in Georgia and cancel a conference if HB 757, a bill that would allow businesses to decline services to same-sex couples, was passed.[41] The governor vetoed the bill.[42]

In an October 2018 interview with The Guardian, Benioff criticized other technology industry executives for "hoarding" their money and refusing to help unhoused people in the San Francisco Bay Area.[43] In November, Benioff announced his support for San Francisco's Prop C measure that would increase taxes on large corporations to aid unhoused residents in the city.[44]

In September 2021, Benioff announced that Salesforce would relocate any Texas employees who wanted to move after an abortion law went into effect.[45][46]


  1. ^ "The Enduring Hope of Jane Goodall". Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Marc Benioff". Forbes. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Time Magazine Is Bought by Marc Benioff, Salesforce Billionaire". September 16, 2018.
  4. ^ Jerusalem Post: "Jews take 5 of top 6 spots in annual list of top US givers" By JACOB BERKMAN September 2, 2011
  5. ^ Jewish Philanthropy: "Jewish Philanthropy 2.0" February 23, 2011
  6. ^ a b Rogers, Matt Weinberger, Taylor Nicole. "The rise of Marc Benioff, the bombastic owner of Time Magazine who just became Salesforce's sole CEO, has an $8 billion fortune, and owns a 5-acre compound in Hawaii". Business Insider. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g San Francisco Gate: "Marc Benioff, CEO, makes philanthropy a priority" by Casey Newton July 24, 2011
  8. ^ Lynley, Matt. "Frat Boys Are Taking Over The Tech World". Business Insider. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  9. ^ Bort, Julie (April 12, 2015). "How these famous Benioffs are related". Business Insider. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  10. ^ Duberman, David (January 1984). "ROM Fun: Survey of recent cartridge games". Antic. pp. 62–63.
  11. ^ Bort, Julie. "The Fabulous Life Of Tech Billionaire Marc Benioff". Business Insider. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  12. ^ Benioff, Marc; Adler, Carlyle (2009). Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry. John Wiley & Sons. pp. xviii–xx. ISBN 978-0-470-53592-9.
  13. ^ Sauer, Megan (February 22, 2022). "A teenage Marc Benioff cold-called an Apple executive — and got his dream internship". CNBC. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  14. ^ "The stratospheric rise of Marc Benioff and Salesforce". Fortune. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  15. ^ Salesforce Blog: "Marc Benioff: How to Turn a Simple Idea into a High-Growth Company" By Marc Benioff March 8, 2013
  16. ^ "The Marketing Genius of Marc Benioff". ViralWeGrow. December 6, 2020. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  17. ^ Field, Hayden. "Marc Benioff Reached Millionaire Status by Age 25 -- and 9 Other Things to Know About the Co-Founder of Salesforce". Entrepreneur. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  18. ^ "The story of why Marc Benioff gifted the domain to Steve Jobs". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  19. ^ a b c "The goodness business: how woke capitalism turned virtue into profit". New Statesman. October 20, 2021. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  20. ^ Kim, Eugene. "Billionaire CEO Marc Benioff is writing a sequel to his best-selling memoir about Salesforce — and wants your help". Business Insider. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  21. ^ Feloni, Richard. "Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff explains why a Hindu guru and Colin Powell were critical mentors". Business Insider. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  22. ^ "World Economic Forum Announces New Batch Of Young Global Leaders (Mark Zuckerberg, Chad Hurley, Kevin Rose And More)". TechCrunch. February 25, 2009.
  23. ^ "C.E.O.s Were Our Heroes, at Least According to Them". The New York Times. January 13, 2022. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  24. ^ Barron's: "World's Best CEOs" By Andrew Bary March 26, 2012
  25. ^ The Economist: "And the winners were..." By The Economist Staff December 1, 2012
  26. ^ Fortune: "Vote: Businessperson of the Year - Championship Round" By Fortune Editors November 12, 2014
  27. ^ Fortune: "The World's 50 Greatest Leaders" By Geoff Colvin March 25, 2016
  28. ^ "Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: The big giver". CNET. July 26, 2014.
  29. ^ "America's Top Givers of 2016". Forbes. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  30. ^ "No. 10 (tied): Marc R. and Lynne Benioff". February 6, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  31. ^ The Chronicle of Philanthropy: "Young Tech Donors Take Leading Role in Philanthropy 50" By Alex Daniels and Maria Di Mento February 8, 2015
  32. ^ The Chronicle of Philanthropy: "Bequests Put Conservative Billionaire Richard Scaife Atop List of America's 50 Biggest Donors" By Maria Di Mento and Drew Lindsay February 9, 2016
  33. ^ a b Savchuk, Katia. "San Francisco's Giant of Generosity". Forbes. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  34. ^ "'Next 10 years are critical': Prince William backs £50m climate change project Earthshots". The National. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  35. ^ a b Dolan, Kerry A. "Salesforce Billionaire Marc Benioff Pledges $200 Million For Reforestation, Climate Entrepreneurs". Forbes. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  36. ^ "Marc and Lynne Benioff, Salesforce donate $300M to encourage climate action". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  37. ^ "UCSF Launches New Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative with $30M Gift". UCSF Launches New Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative with $30M Gift | UC San Francisco.
  38. ^ indiana Business Journal: "Salesforce CEO: We're canceling travel to Indiana" By Jared Council March 26, 2015
  39. ^ The Huffington Post: "The CEO Who Took On Indiana's Anti-LGBT Law — And Won" By Alexander C. Kaufman April 7, 2015
  40. ^ The Huffington Post: "Salesforce CEO Takes Radical Step To Pay Men And Women Equally" By Emily Peck April 23, 2015
  41. ^ Fortune: "Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Battles Georgia Over Gay Rights" By Jonathan Vanian February 26, 2016
  42. ^ Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "BREAKING: Nathan Deal vetoes Georgia's 'religious liberty' bill" By Greg Bluestein April 9, 2016
  43. ^ Levin, Sam (October 17, 2018). "Salesforce CEO: tech billionaires 'hoard their money' and won't help homeless" – via
  44. ^ Ghaffary, Shirin (November 14, 2018). "Marc Benioff says he had rabbis and imams supporting the Prop C homelessness tax — but not tech CEOs". Vox. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  45. ^ "Salesforce to help workers leave states over abortion laws". AP NEWS. September 11, 2021. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  46. ^ Novet, Jordan (September 11, 2021). "Salesforce offers to relocate employees and their families after Texas abortion law goes into effect". CNBC. Retrieved March 30, 2022.

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