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Salesforce pinches Accenture tech veteran to head up UK & Ireland operations

Cloudy CRM monster's veep merry-go-round keeps spinning

SaaS-y CRM vendor Salesforce has hired Accenture high-flyer Zahra Bahrololoumi as exec veep and CEO of its UK and Ireland biz.

Bahrololoumi replaces Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, who departed the role after just six months, and will report to president and chief revenue officer Gavin Patterson.

A 22-year Accenture veteran, Bahrololoumi has been technology lead at the consultancy and services all-rounder since 2017. Her focus was on "next-generation systems in artificial intelligence, cloud computing and platforms underpinning new applications," according to the announcement.

She also sits on the board of industry lobby group techUK and is a vice-chair of the technology leadership group for the Prince's Trust.

Salesforce said it expects to create more than 1,000 new jobs in the UK and Ireland over the next two years. Sales revenue in EMEA has grown 36 per cent or more than $1bn in the second quarter.

Bahrololoumi's appointment continues a changing of the guard at Salesforce in Europe. Angelique de Vries was named exec veep and CEO of northern Europe in February, Denis Terrien was picked to head up southern Europe in May, and Stefan Hoechbauer joined to run Germany, Austria and Switzerland that same month.

Former Virgin Money boss Gadhia was made Salesforce CEO UK&I in August 2019 and started in October. But by March she was said to be "returning to her role as a strategic advisor at Salesforce to give her time to focus on her new business Snoop," according to the official line.

Former BT Group chief Patterson said of new hire Bahrololoumi: [She is] "an extraordinary executive with a passion for using technology to transform organisations and improve the state of our world."

Patterson was only appointed to his role in May, having been made CEO of Salesforce International in February, four months after he joined as chair of EMEA.

Meanwhile, Pip White, former senior veep and general manager of industry sales at Salesforce, was nabbed by Google in June to head up its cloud business in the UK and Ireland.

Despite the dizzying veep merry-go-round at Salesforce, grabbing Bahrololoumi from Accenture may make a certain sense. As well as running massive outsourcing and consultancy businesses, Accenture is among the largest cloud resellers on the planet, having snaffled Cloud Sherpas in 2015 and a host of other businesses. ®

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