Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has some good — or bad — news, depending on whether or not you’re a fan of Elon Musk.
Elon Musk may be the world’s richest man, but he certainly didn’t get there by winning any popularity contests. What popularity he did have has taken a major hit since his Twitter acquisition. The mercurial CEO has slashed the workforce, axed his most loyal executives, made demands of staff that many consider unreasonable, introduced drastic changes seemingly on a whim, and raised prices or begun charging for various services.
While Musk’s management style has put many off, Benioff believes it may become far more common, with many tech CEOs already asking if they need to follow his example.
“Every CEO in Silicon Valley has looked at what Elon Musk has done and has asked themselves, ‘Do they need to unleash their own Elon within them?'” Benioff told Business Insider in an interview.
“That is an existential question that if you are any kind of executive in the company,” Benioff added. “You have to look at him and say, ‘Wow, it’s a very unorthodox management style,’ but, as I’ve said, you can’t underestimate what he’s done.”
While Benioff has not taken such drastic measures as Musk, he did say that he had to step back into more of a hands-on role following the departure of co-CEO Bret Taylor. The company’s recent layoffs and cost-cutting measures reflect that involvement.
“I had no choice but to step in and to guide the company’s performance,” Benioff told Insider. “And that’s the results that you’re seeing here today with these numbers.”
While there’s no denying Musk’s approach may meet with a measure of success, it’s hard to imagine it as a sustainable business model. After all, at some point, every CEO still need employees that are willing to work for them.