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Tony Prophet
Tony Prophet

CRM giant Salesforce has hired Tony Prophet, a veteran of Microsoft and HP, to become its chief equality officer, reporting to CEO and chairman Marc Benioff and set to start Sept. 26. Benioff announced the decision to hire such a C-level executive earlier this week.

Prophet will be responsible for leading the company’s equality initiatives, focusing on gender, LGBTQ and racial equality. Gender-based pay discrimination, for example, is rampant in the technology industry, though Salesforce says it has spent nearly $3 million to eliminate statistically significant pay differences.

Prophet most recently served as Microsoft’s corporate VP for education marketing. He was co-executive sponsor of Blacks at Microsoft and the founding executive of BlackLight, an organization empowering black marketers at Microsoft. Before that, he led operations for HP’s Printing & Personal Systems business as a senior VP. He has also held executive positions at United Technologies Corporation and Honeywell, and he was a partner at Booz Allen Hamilton. He currently serves on the board of directors of Gannett, where he chairs the transformation committee.

“This is an incredible opportunity to have not just an impact at Salesforce, but more broadly in the tech industry and beyond,” Prophet said in a statement.

Microsoft and San Francisco-based Salesforce partner in the cloud but compete in areas including Salesforce’s core customer-relationship management business, where Microsoft’s rival Dynamics CRM scored a big win earlier this week. Salesforce also competed against Microsoft in the bidding to acquire LinkedIn.

[Editor’s Note: Salesforce is a GeekWire annual sponsor.]

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