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Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block steps down, Marc Benioff to be sole chief

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The company logo for Salesforce.com is displayed on the Salesforce Tower in New York

(Reuters) – Salesforce.com Inc <CRM.N> said on Tuesday Keith Block has stepped down as co-chief executive officer, making Marc Benioff the sole CEO of the business software company, sending its shares down nearly 3% in extended trading.

Block was widely seen as a potential successor to Benioff, who founded the company in 1999, and will continue as the chairman.

The company has spent more than $16 billion last year for acquisitions, adding muscle to its cloud products as it fends off competition from bigger rivals like Oracle Corp <ORCL.N> and German competitor SAP <SAPG.DE>.

Salesforce forecast first-quarter revenue between $4.88 billion and $4.89 billion, compared with analysts’ estimates of $4.84 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company reported a net loss of $248 million, or 28 cents per share, for the quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with a net income of $362 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 66 cents per share, beating estimates of 56 cents per share.

The company’s total revenue rose 34.6% to $4.85 billion, above estimates of $4.75 billion.

(Reporting by Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Shounak Dasgupta)

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