Salesforce Plans to Name Its First Chief Equality Officer

Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Salesforce, participates in a panel discussion at the 2015 Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco
Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Salesforce, participates in a panel discussion at the 2015 Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco, California November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage - RTX1UN7B
Elijah Nouvelage — Reuters

Salesforce is taking a bigger stand against inequality in the workplace.

Next week, the business software company plans to announce a chief equality officer, said Salesforce (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff on Tuesday during the annual TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.

Benioff did not discuss the specific duties of the chief equality officer, nor who he has in mind for the role. But he noted whoever is chosen will report directly to him.

The announcement comes after a lengthy discussion on workplace diversity and equality, a subject about which Benioff said he is passionate.

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Benioff talked about gender inequality facing many industries, such as the film and technology sectors, in which women are paid less than men for the same work positions.

“We have a broad set of programs to make sure that women not only have opportunities for growth, not only opportunities for career expansion, but are paid the same as men,” Benioff said. “A lot of companies are not willing to look to see are women paid the same as men.”

He added that both men and women “have to stand up” and say that they will “fight for equality.”

Benioff also detailed his recent public battles with politicians in Indiana and Georgia who supported laws that human-rights activists believed harmed the LGTB community. The CEO threatened to move Salesforce’s operations out of states considering so-called religious freedom laws that would effectively let businesses decline services to same-sex couples.

He said that certain politicians in those states have “hate in their hearts” and contrasted the more conservative views in those states with that of San Francisco, home to more progressively-inclined values.

“We had to fight back,” Benioff said, remarking although “it’s fine” for technology companies to merely focus on their products and their software code, doing so will not give executives or employees a feeling of self-satisfaction.

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“I’ll tell you you’re not going to really get the really great feeling of life,” Benioff said. “The real pleasure, which is to help other people.”

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