Home Technology Slack’s new CEO, Lidiane Jones, brings with her two decades of product experience • businessroundups.org

Slack’s new CEO, Lidiane Jones, brings with her two decades of product experience • businessroundups.org

by Ana Lopez
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We’ve heard a lot in recent weeks about the executives leaving Salesforce, but not much about the woman taking over from Stewart Butterfield as CEO at Slack when he leaves to spend some time. gardening. It’s time we change that.

Her name is Lydia Jones, a woman with a deep background in business software. (I requested an interview with Jones for this piece, but the company did not make her available to speak to the press.) Surprisingly, many of the analysts I consulted with about Salesforce knew little about her, but that may be because they are simply not made available on analyst days.

That will likely change when she takes over at the end of next month.

But she didn’t come out of nowhere. Jones, who lives in the Boston area, has been with Salesforce for three years and quickly rose through the ranks, starting as head of product for Commerce Cloud and then moving up to GM of Commerce Cloud — prior to her promotion this week — with the title of GM of Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Experience Cloud, which basically encompasses the company’s entire B2C business.

Prior to that, she worked at Microsoft for 13 years on various products, from Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project to Enterprise Application Virtualization, Office Collaboration and finally Azure Machine Learning.

She also spent nearly four years at Sonos as VP of Product Management. Her unique blend of business and consumer experience should prepare her well for her new job at Slack, where she will have to walk a fine line between user experience and business requirements.

In Butterfield’s retirement announcement from Slack, made available to businessroundups.org by sources earlier this week (was it just this week?), he lavishly praised his replacement. While he might try to sell her to a skeptical group accustomed to his decade of steady leadership, it sounds like he really likes her too:

So about this Lidiane. You’re gonna love her. She is pragmatic and practical, insightful, passionate, creative, friendly and curious. She’s right next to that little diamond-shaped heart in the Venn diagram with four circles of Smart, Humble, Hardworking, and Collaborative. Before Salesforce, she led products at Sonos for four years, where she fell in love with Slack. She has a deep respect for our product approach, our customer obsession and our unique culture. She’s one of us.

That’s a pretty strong welcome, and Anand Thaker, a marketing technology consultant and the founder of several startups who closely follows Salesforce, also believes she’s a good fit for Slack.

“She has a solid engineering and management background, and the projects and groups she’s worked on within Salesforce — experience, marketing, commerce — were all places where Slack would fit and deliver the best value. Each of these has strong consumer commerce elements where the greater growth (or less churn) is likely to come and is in line (read the tea leaves) with where Benioff wanted to go with Salesforce,” Thaker told businessroundups.org.

Butterfield added that Jones’ roles within Salesforce will make her a strong voice for Slack within the larger organization, which could be helpful in the leadership transition.

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, founder and chief analyst at the Deep Analysis firm, said she is in many ways better prepared for this job than some longtime CEOs.

“I don’t know Lidiane personally, but she seems like the logical option as she seemed to do a great job running the Marketing, Experience, Commerce Clouds, and running those isn’t much different than running multiple large companies, so ironic enough she has more real CEO experience as a new CEO than many veteran CEOs. Plus, she had been with Microsoft for a long time — and might be able to put some of their sternness on the table,” he said.

Jones certainly has big shoes to fill, taking over from a founder CEO in the midst of a major transition for the company, but with a few decades of tech experience behind her, she seems more than prepared for the challenge.

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