fb-pixel Skip to main content

Don’t be surprised if Salesforce hangs its name on a Boston tower someday

Keith Block, chief operating officer of Salesforce, said Boston is one of the company’s fastest-growing markets.
Keith Block, chief operating officer of Salesforce, said Boston is one of the company’s fastest-growing markets.Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Salesforce.com Inc., a $50 billion seller of sales and marketing software, is known for putting its stamp on iconic office buildings in cities around the globe. Boston’s skyline could one day join the list, a top executive said Wednesday.

The San Francisco-based company, which acquired a pair of local software sellers earlier this year and recently expanded its downtown office, now has nearly 1,000 employees in Boston and its suburbs.

That’s made Boston one of the fastest-growing markets in the United States for Salesforce, which is hiring thousands of people each quarter companywide, said Keith Block, the company’s chief operating officer.


“We have a Salesforce tower in New York. We have a Salesforce tower in San Francisco. We have one in Tokyo, we have one in London, we have one in Paris,” Block said. “At the current course and speed of where we’re going in Boston, I wouldn’t rule that out. I think that’s definitely a possibility.”

Block, a native of Lexington who lives in Boston, acknowledged that he has a personal interest in keeping up the momentum in Boston. “It’s pretty rewarding when you grow up here and you see that sort of thing,” he said.

Salesforce’s expansion comes amid a historical shift for tech employment in the region. EMC Corp., a stalwart of the local tech economy, is now a subsidiary of privately controlled Dell Technologies Inc. after a $65 billion buyout that took effect in September.

At the same time, West Coast tech companies are also increasingly populating Boston and Cambridge. Among the most notable are Google, which has more than 1,000 employees in Cambridge, and Microsoft, which had about 750 in the area as of January.

Salesforce is joining them because of the region’s premier universities, which generate coveted technical employees. Those workers are critical as Salesforce expands its product offerings into markets beyond its core of sales and marketing software to include such sectors as health care and connected devices.


“I’ve been in the tech business for over 30 years, and this is just a hotbed. It has always been a hotbed for innovation,” Block said.

As it grows, Salesforce has shown a penchant for showy real estate deals. The company’s new San Francisco headquarters, under construction by developer Boston Properties, will be one of the tallest office towers in the western United States. Salesforce also is planning to move into and rename the MetLife Tower in Manhattan.

Salesforce also has shown an appetite for buying companies that offer competing or complementary products. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal published an internal Salesforce list of potential acquisition targets unearthed by hackers who raided the e-mail of former secretary of state Colin Powell, a Salesforce director.

The document, dated May 2016, showed the company evaluated companies such as LinkedIn, which was later purchased by Microsoft Corp. Eventual acquisition Demandware, based in Burlington, was also listed alongside local companies Pegasystems and HubSpot.

In a statement, Salesforce said, “The appearance of company names on the list doesn’t imply Salesforce ever intended to acquire them.” Block said Salesforce only adds companies that can keep it focused on its core mission, rather than seeking sheer size through acquisitions.

“We’re not a company that is all things to all people,” Block said. “If you look at some of these legacy technology companies, some of them are in the on-premises software business and they also have a server business, they also have a storage business . . . they may be in the front office. But they have a lot of stuff with no real coherent strategy.”


Curt Woodward can be reached at curt.woodward@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @curtwoodward.