Salesforce's Benioff To Step Down From Cisco Board

Benioff will leave in November, ending a two-year stint that saw Cisco grow its presence in the cloud arena.

Marc Benioff Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff will leave Cisco Systems' board of directors in November, stepping down two years after being appointed to the post.

In a brief filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Sept. 8, Cisco officials said all of the current directors—except for Benioff—will be up for re-election at the networking vendor's annual shareholders meeting Nov. 20.

There was no indication why Benioff decided to step down, though his own booming cloud business and various philanthropic projects no doubt keep him busy enough. He came onboard at the time when Cisco CEO John Chambers ramped up efforts to aggressively extend his company's reach into the cloud, which has since become a central focus for Cisco.

Earlier this year, Cisco officials announced its Intercloud initiative, the idea of a growing series of interconnected cloud environments that use Cisco products as their technology underpinnings. The company has since been adding services and partners to the project, including VCE and NetApp. Two months after the Intercloud announcement, Cisco officials announced the company will spend $1 billion over two years to build on their cloud vision, and more recently the company has partnered with Microsoft and Red Hat on separate cloud partnerships.

For its part, in August announced second-quarter revenues of $1.32 billion, a 38 percent increase over the same period in 2013, and raised its fiscal year 2015 guidance by $30 million.

In a post on the Cisco blog Sept. 12, Chambers noted that he had personally asked Benioff to join the board in 2012 "as I knew that his laser focus on customers would help Cisco as we navigate through the many market transitions of cloud, mobility, security, Internet of Everything and more. His insight, experience and knowledge in software and the cloud has been invaluable to Cisco."