University of Southern California

2014 Commencement Speaker



Marc Benioff is chairman and CEO of He founded the company in 1999 with a vision to create an on-demand information management service that would replace traditional enterprise software technology. He is now regarded as one of the pioneers of cloud computing and has been instrumental in driving businesses to transform by embracing social and mobile cloud technologies to connect with customers, partners, and employees in new ways.

Under Marc’s direction, has grown from a groundbreaking idea into a publicly traded company that is the leader in enterprise cloud computing. For its revolutionary approach, has been recognized by Fortune as one of the Fastest Growing Companies and one of the Best Places to Work, and was selected by Forbes as the World’s Most Innovative Company for two years in a row.

Marc has been widely recognized for his visionary leadership and for pioneering innovation. In 2012 he was named a Businessperson of the Year by Fortune, one of the Best CEOs in the World by Barron’s, and one of the Best CEOs in America by Forbes, and he also received an Innovation Award from The Economist. In 2010 he was awarded TechAmerica’s David Packard Medal of Achievement, and was named by Fortune as one of the Top 50 People in Business as well as one of the Smartest People in Tech.

Throughout his career, Marc has been committed to using information technology to produce positive social change. In 2000 he launched the Foundation — now a multimillion-dollar global organization — which established the “1-1-1 model,” whereby the company contributes 1 percent of product, 1 percent of equity, and 1 percent of employee hours back to the communities it serves.

Acknowledging his commitment to building partnerships between business and society to improve the state of the world, the members of the World Economic Forum named Marc one of the forum’s Young Global Leaders, and the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy presented him with its coveted Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Award.

Marc is a CEO member of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy and serves on the Board of Directors at Cisco. He is also the author of three books, including the national bestseller Behind the Cloud.

Prior to launching, Marc, a 30-year veteran of the software industry, spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation (1986-99). In 1984 he worked as an assembly language programmer in Apple Computer’s Macintosh Division. He founded the entertainment software company Liberty Software in 1979, when he was 15 years old.

Marc received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from USC in 1986. He has served on the USC Board of Trustees since 2010.