Feb 8, 2023
Salesforce’s Bret Taylor to Start AI Firm With Departing Google VP
(Bloomberg) -- Bret Taylor, who recently resigned as co-chief executive officer at Salesforce Inc., is forming an artificial intelligence startup with outgoing Google Vice President Clay Bavor.
The two executives, former colleagues at Alphabet Inc.’s Google, will create a new company to apply AI to “some of the most important problems in business,” Taylor wrote Wednesday in a LinkedIn post. The venture will begin in March when Bavor leaves Google, that executive wrote in a separate post, and the pair will provide more details at a later date.
Taylor, 42, once seen as a likely successor to Salesforce Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff, announced in November that he would leave the enterprise software giant to return to his “entrepreneurial roots.” He helped found companies that were later purchased by Facebook Inc. — now called Meta Platforms Inc. — and Salesforce.
Since Taylor announced that he was leaving Salesforce, the company has embarked on significant job cuts, experienced a wave of executive turnover and been pressured by multiple activist investors. Taylor had also been Twitter Inc.’s board chairman, serving as the social media company’s point person during Elon Musk’s acquisition.
Read more about Taylor’s dealings with Musk’s purchase of Twitter
Bavor, who joined Google in 2005, rose in the company’s ranks as a manager on Gmail and Google Drive and is considered a favorite lieutenant of CEO Sundar Pichai. In 2015, Bavor was tapped to run Google’s virtual reality unit, an effort to outpace rivals to the next expected computing platform. Google has released waves of software and some gadgets, but its products have never gained widespread use and the company has retreated from the field.
In 2021, Bavor was put in charge of a new Google division called Labs that housed various far-flung projects, including VR and blockchain and the company’s startup incubator. The incubator, called Area 120, was pared back significantly in a recent wave of job cuts at Alphabet.
Google doesn’t plan to name a replacement for Bavor, according to spokesperson for the company. Labs projects dedicated to emerging technology will shift to Google’s Tech & Society unit, which is overseen by James Manyika, a senior vice president. Labs projects dedicated to augmented reality will be supervised by Google executives Hiroshi Lockheimer and Rick Osterloh.
--With assistance from Julia Love.
(Updates with plans for Google in final paragraph.)
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