Slack’s new CEO, Lidiane Jones, brings two decades of product experience to the job
We’ve heard an awful lot over the past couple of weeks about the executives who are leaving Salesforce, but not a heck of a lot about the woman who is taking over for Stewart Butterfield as CEO at Slack when he takes off to spend some time gardening. It’s high time that we change that.
Her full name is Lidiane Jones ,, a woman with a strong background in enterprise software. I requested an interview with Jones to write this piece, but she refused to be made available to the press. Surprisingly, most of the Salesforce analysts I spoke with knew very little about her. This could be because she hasn’t been available on analysts’ days.
This will likely change when she assumes control at the end next month.
But she wasn’t born there. Jones, who is from the Boston area, joined Salesforce three years ago as head of Commerce Cloud. She was then promoted to GM of Commerce Cloud.
Before that she worked 13 many years at Microsoft, working on a variety 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, where she was VP of product management. Her unique blend of enterprise and consumer experience should make her well-suited for her new role running Slack. She will need to balance user experience with enterprise requirements.
Butterfield’s farewell Slack message, made available by TechCrunch sources earlier this week (or was it just this week? He praised his replacement with exuberance. He could be trying to sell her to the skeptical group that has been used to his decade-long steady leadership, but it sounds like he actually likes her:
So, about this Lidiane. You will love her. She is practical and practical, thoughtful, insightful, creative, kind, curious, and passionate. She is right at the little diamond-shaped heart of the four-circle Venn Diagram of Smart, Humble and Hardworking, which includes Collaborative. She spent four years at Sonos, where she fell in love Slack. She is deeply in love with our product approach, our customer obsession, our unique culture. She is one of us.
This is a strong welcome. Anand Thaker, a marketing tech advisor and founder of several startups, believes she’s a good fit with Slack.
“She is a strong technical and management professional. The Salesforce projects and groups that she has been involved in — experience, marketing and commerce — are all areas where Slack would be a good fit and deliver the best value. Each of these have strong consumer commerce elements that will likely bring about greater growth (or less churn) and is in line (reading tea leaves) with Benioff’s vision for Salesforce,” Thaker told TechCrunch.
Butterfield said that Jones’s Salesforce roles will make her a strong advocate for Slack within the larger organization. This could be a benefit as the leadership transition occurs.
Alan Pelz Sharpe, founder and principal analyst of Deep Analysis, stated that she is in many ways better equipped for the job than long-serving CEOs.
” I don’t know Lidiane, but she seems like a good choice. She did a great job running the Marketing, Experience, Commerce Clouds. Managing these isn’t much different than running large businesses, so ironically, she has more first-time CEO experience than many experienced CEOs. He said that Lidiane was a long-serving employee of Microsoft and may bring some of their rigor.
Jones has big shoes to fill. She will be taking over as founder-CEO during a major transition for the company. However, with her decades of tech experience, she seems more than ready for the challenge.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.