CFO Cancels Retirement after Two Months

Salesforce.com finds that the best finance chief was there all along.

Talk about quick retirements. In June, Salesforce.com CFO Steve Cakebread reportedly said he would retire by the end of the year. But after searching for his replacement, company chief executive officer Marc Benioff said earlier this week that Cakebread has agreed to remain with the business-software provider, according to Marketwatch.com.

Making the announcement during a conference call with investors, Benioff said: “After interviewing more than 20 candidates, we have identified the right CFO who will help us achieve our goal of becoming a $1 billion software company,” according to Computerworld. “Steve’s agreed to save his retirement for a later day.”

It isn’t apparent from press reports, however, why the finance chief had chosen to leave in the first place. Reportedly, Cakebread said during the call that “it became more and more clear there were still more exciting challenges” at Salesforce.com. “The decision to leave was very hard; the decision to stay was a very easy one.”

The finance executive had come to Salesforce.com in 2002 from Autodesk, where he served as CFO and senior vice president, and was responsible for all of the company’s accounting and corporate-finance functions. Cakebread is credited with helping Salesforce.com raise $110 million from an initial public offering in 2004, according to Computerworld.

In a regulatory filing, the company said Cakebread’s annual base salary was increased to $400,000, effective September 1. He will be eligible to receive an annual bonus of up to $300,000, based upon achieving a mix of company and individual performance objectives. Subject to board approval, he will also be granted an option to buy 300,000 shares of stock with certain vesting requirements.

Last year, Cakebread received a $300,000 salary and a $176,100 bonus. He also made more than $6 million from exercising stock options.

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