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ExactTarget acquisition ushered in changes

December 27, 2014

About 18 months have passed since enterprise software giant Salesforce.com acquired ExactTarget for $2.5 billion, but a lot has changed in the past 12 months.

A number of senior ExactTarget executives have left, many with hefty stock cash-outs related to the acquisition. Probably the most prominent departure was former CEO and co-founder Scott Dorsey, who announced his exit in May after a 14-year run with the digital-marketing software firm.

Former Chief Marketing Officer Tim Kopp, former Chief Financial Officer Steve Collins and former Chief Administrative Officer Traci Dolan also announced they were parting ways with the company in 2014. They and other former top executives are now involved with corporate boards, startups and angel investing, among other pursuits.

Other ExactTarget officials have left—or announced plans to leave—for more senior positions with companies such as Angie’s List and Chicago-based Geofeedia, which recently opened a local office.

Kopp previously told IBJ that he expects more fast-growing startups like Geofeedia to target the talent of ExactTarget alumni.

Salesforce also suggested in 2014 that it might bolster its Indianapolis presence. In a brief interview during ExactTarget’s Connections conference in September, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told IBJ: “We’d like to build a Salesforce tower in Indianapolis; we just haven’t found the right opportunity yet.”

His remarks sparked discussions about prospective sites for a downtown tower and even an overture to the San Francisco-based company by local developer J. Greg Allen.

About 1,000 local Salesforce employees are spread across three offices.

Some changes in the wake of the Salesforce buyout haven’t been as rosy.

In September, Salesforce announced it was moving the Connections conference to New York in 2015. The high-profile digital marketing gathering, which took its current name in 2007, has been held in Indianapolis since 2005.

And in October, company officials said Salesforce was dropping the ExactTarget moniker from its flagship marketing product, now called the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Spokespeople wouldn’t comment on the fate of the ExactTarget brand elsewhere, which appears on a couple of downtown buildings. Orange will remain the Marketing Cloud accent color, however.

Explore all of our 2014 Year in Review coverage.

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