FinancialForce taps Salesforce.com veteran Tod Nielsen as CEO

tod-nielsen

After a strong year that saw its revenues rise more than 40 percent, FinancialForce Inc. is making some management changes in preparation for the next phase of its growth effort.

The enterprise resource management provider today appointed experienced technology executive Tod Nielsen as chief executive. Nielsen joins FinancialForce from Salesforce.com Inc., its first and most important partner, where he held the role of executive vice president of platform until June. He landed the position after a three-year stint serving as the head of Heroku, a division of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s firm that helps developers build and host cloud applications.

Nielsen was already a well-respected industry leader when he joined the unit in 2010. He had earlier served as the co-president of VMware Inc. and spent three years in the CEO seat at Borland Software Corp., which was sold to Micro Focus International plc shortly after his 2008 departure. Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and BEA Systems Inc. appear on his resume as well.

Nielsen wasn’t too involved in ERP during his career, but the broad experience he has picked up along the way should serve FinancialForce well. His deep understanding of Salesforce.com should be especially helpful given that his new employer’s offerings are based almost entirely on the platform. The cozy relationship between the companies is apparent the business side as well: Salesforce supported the launch of FinancialForce in 2009 with an early venture investment.

Nonetheless, Nielsen aims to move the ERP provider beyond those roots. The executive told Forbes that “a year from now I would like us to think of FinancialForce as a great cloud ERP company and not a great Salesforce cloud ERP company.”

Nielsen will have a strong foundation to work with thanks to the efforts of his predecessor, Jeremy Roche, who founded FinancialForce in 2009. He is credited with growing the company from a small startup to a major force in cloud-based ERP on the cusp of achieving a $100 million annual run-rate. The entrepreneur will reportedly stay on-board as a “special adviser” for the next few months to help Nielsen with the transition.

Photo by theCUBE