* Salesforce.com President Steve Cakebread resigns
* Company lays off 2 executive vice presidents - sources
(Recasts to include president's departure, background, )
By Anupreeta Das and Jim Finkle
NEW YORK/BOSTON, Feb 5 Three senior executives
left business software maker Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N) over
the past week, at a time when technology companies are bracing
for declines in corporate spending this year.
The world's biggest provider of software delivered over the
Internet said on Thursday that its president and chief strategy
officer, Steve Cakebread, had resigned, effective Feb. 1 for
Meanwhile, people familiar with recent personnel changes at
Salesforce said it laid off Gary Hanna, executive vice
president for enterprise sales, and another executive vice
Cakebread, who became president last year after working as
chief financial officer for six years, will receive $425,000 in
severance and bonus payments, along with healthcare benefits
through July 1. He was well regarded by investors during his
tenure as CFO.
Salesforce spokesman Gordon Evans declined to comment on
the layoffs. Hanna could not be reached for comment. It was not
clear what type of severance the company paid.
Analysts said the departures may be related to a broader
move by Salesforce to lower costs amid concerns that sales will
slow this year as business clients cut jobs and reduce spending
on tech products.
Seven out of 10 chief financial officers at technology
companies expect revenue to decrease or remain flat this year,
according to a new BDO Seidman 2009 Technology Outlook Survey
of 100 executives at top U.S. tech companies.
Salesforce's flagship product is its customer relationship
management software, delivered to companies on the
software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.
The San Francisco-based company charges customers on a
pay-as-you-go basis, unlike traditional software providers,
which charge upfront.
It's "quite likely that Salesforce customers have been
canceling subscriptions in recent weeks," one of the sources
said, adding that the two layoffs were not
Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research,
said Salesforce's move to downsize its executive suite is a
sign the company is not as confident about its outlook as it
was after its October quarter.
Salesforce's earnings had topped Wall Street expectations
and company executives said in November that business was not
suffering dramatically from the economic slowdown.
Since then, shares in the software maker have climbed 35
percent, about twice the 17.5 percent gain in the Nasdaq
Composite Index. They rose 4.7 percent on Thursday to $30.72.
"Our research indicates that this quarter was quite
challenging. The bookings are probably down," Chowdhry said.
"2009 will be an excruciating year for Salesforce."
Salesforce officials declined to comment on fourth-quarter
results or the outlook for the coming year prior to releasing
results after their fourth quarter ended Jan. 31.
Wall Street analysts are expecting Salesforce to earn 18
cents per share on revenue of $285.5 million, compared with
earnings of 13 cents per share on revenue of $216.9 million in
the year-ago quarter.
Salesforce rivals include Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Oracle
Corp ORCL.O, SAP AG (SAPG.DE) and NetSuite Inc (N.N)
(Reporting by Anupreeta Das and Jim Finkle; Editing by Richard