Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on Tuesday touted the value of stakeholders after the company posted a quarterly profit that smashed Wall Street’s estimates.
In an interview on “Mad Money,” Benioff, founder of the subscription-based business software, highlighted actions the company has taken in the midst of the economic and health crises.
“This is a victory for stakeholder capitalism because I think, you know, that we did a great job for our shareholders this quarter, but we also did a great job for our stakeholders, as well,” he told CNBC’s Jim Cramer. “This is a moment when we need to be thinking not just about how to serve all of our customers, but also how to take care of our communities because they are in so much pain.”
Salesforce delivered a beat on the top and bottom lines in its second-quarter report for the 2021 fiscal year, growing revenue by 29% and net income by 152% from a year ago. The company posted $5.15 of revenue, compared to FactSet estimates of $4.9 billion, and earnings of $1.44 per share, as analysts expected 66 cents.
Benioff, who has been outspoken about the dangers of corporations’ “obsession” to just maximize profits for the investing community, said he was “most proud” that Salesforce played a role in addressing the needs of some major public school districts in the face of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. In January, he said that stakeholder capitalism, the notion that corporations should champion more societal responsibilities than just returning profits to investors, was reaching a “tipping point.”
The internet entrepreneur was one of almost 200 CEOs last year to sign on the Business Roundtable’s idea that corporate America shares a “fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders,” not just to shareholders. The change in focus comes as more younger investors enter the market and introduce their interests in social justice and sustainability to Wall Street.
Stakeholder capitalism was a big topic at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“It shows that you can do well and you can do good at the same time,” Benioff said of the company’s output. “Our stakeholders have radically benefited from this company since we went public in 2004.”
Earlier this month Salesforce announced $20 million in grants for school districts in San Francisco, Oakland, California, Indianapolis, Chicago and New York City to bolster technology efforts to hold classes, whether in class or online. The grants emphasize equipping schools with connected learning tools, as the country grapples with gathering limits in efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The company says it has provided a total of $118 million in education grants to date.
“Our public schools are key stakeholders for Salesforce,” Benioff said. “While we’re growing the company, while we’re doing well for our customers, we’re also taking care of our stakeholders. That’s our very core of who we are at Salesforce.com.”
Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Salesforce.com.