The CEO of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) pioneer Heroku, Byron Sebastian left the building, folks. Sebastian, who also serves as executive vice president of platforms at Salesforce, stepped down from his positions abruptly to pursue something a little more “hands on.”
Sebastian joined the Heroku team as the CEO in July 2009, and led the company through its $212 million acquisition by Salesforce.com in December 2010. Those days are over. According to the employment status on his LinkedIn profile, Sebastian is off somewhere farming olives. Salesforce representatives have confirmed (his departure, not the olives). His timing was not great. Salesforce was scheduled to launch a new set of tools for Heroku and Force.com on August 28. The company quickly cancelled press briefings on the new tools likely due to Sebastian’s departure, saying it would reveal the tools at its annual Dreamforce conference
Adam Wiggins, one of the Heroku founders, said losing Sebastian’s departure is not a major issue. Sebastian’s expanded role within Salesforce made him less involved in the day-to-day operations of Heroku. Wiggins may not feel the move is significant, but many are wondering if this is a sign that there is some unrest within the Heroku .
Heroku is very popular with developers, but it has never quite been integrated into Salesforce. It still runs on AWS, which now competes against Heroku with its Elastic Beanstalk. Talk about offering Heroku from inside Salesforce data centers never went further than the discussion stage.
It’s unclear how Salesforce will handle Sebastian’s move out the door. The former CEO has said he plans to stay close to his former team. Maybe Sebastian is working on his own startup; that’s my contribution to the rumor mill for the day.