Marc Benioff has a reputation among certain governors as being a “corporate bully.” His most recent cause célèbre was Georgia, where he recently threatened to shut down Salesforce’s offices over a law that would have limited gay rights.
But the San Francisco-based cloud software company also rewards states that take its anti-discrimination stance seriously.
Consider this Exhibit A: Salesforce (CRM) on Friday trumpeted a massive real estate investment in Indianapolis. This is the same place that the software company boycotted last March over a proposed law that would have given businesses the green light to deny service to same-sex couples.
Benioff’s stance inspired many other companies to adopt similar positions. Governor Mike Pence blinked, changing the law to appease his corporate critics.
The reward? Salesforce now plans to add another 800 jobs to the state as part of a $40 million expansion effort, adding a new regional headquarters there that mimics its presence in New York and London. The company is taking over an existing high-rise building, the Chase Tower. The site will feature a technology demonstration center.
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Salesforce already is one of the biggest tech employers in the state with more than 1,000 staffers in the Indianapolis area, courtesy of its $2.5 billion acquisition of marketing software company ExactTarget in 2013. It plans to move into the new tower starting in early 2017.
By the way, it’s worth remembering that Benioff and company also prevailed in Georgia when the state’s governor vetoed its “religious freedom” law. Are you listening, North Carolina?