Last year I penned a post positing that Salesforce’s propensity to purchase mature enterprise companies not only provided new technology, but was also helping to produce a profusion of executive talent. As though to prove my point, the company announced today that it was promoting former Vlocity CEO David Schmaier to president and chief product officer.
Schmaier came to the organization last year when Salesforce acquired his company for $1.33 billion. It seemed like a good match, given that Vlocity sold Salesforce solutions designed for certain niches like financial services, health, energy and utilities and government and nonprofits.
As a result, Schmaier knew the product set and the company well. Last June, he was named CEO of the Salesforce Industries division, which was created after the Vlocity acquisition. The connection was clear to Schmaier as he told me at the time of his promotion last year:
“I’ve been involved in various mergers and acquisitions over my 30-year career, and this is the most unique one I’ve ever seen because the products are already 100% integrated because we built our six vertical applications on top of the Salesforce platform. So they’re already 100% Salesforce, which is really kind of amazing. So that’s going to make this that much simpler,” he said.
Brent Leary, founder and principal analyst at CRM Essentials, says that Schmaier’s history in building Vlocity makes this promotion pretty easy given the direction of the company, as well as the industry. “Over the last several years we’ve seen just how important developing industry-specific solutions have become to the major players in the space, and Schmaier’s promotion reaffirms this while illustrating how important creating verticals is to their platform [and] to the future of Salesforce,” he told me.
In a Q&A on the Salesforce website announcing the promotion, Schmaier talked about the challenges companies faced in the last year. “There’s no question 2020 was a challenging year. We are operating in this all-digital, work from anywhere world and things won’t go back to where they were, nor should they. One of the silver linings has been seeing what companies can do when there is no alternative and the imperative is to connect with their customers in entirely new ways,”
In his new position it will be Schmaier’s job to figure out how to help them do that.
It’s worth noting that there has been some turnover in the C Suite recently at Salesforce. Just today the company also announced that long-time CFO Mark Hawkins was retiring. He will be replaced by Amy Weaver, who was formerly the company’s chief legal officer. Meanwhile, last week the company hired former Hearsay Social co-founder and CEO Clara Shih to run Salesforce Service Cloud.