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Salesforce shares slump; co-CEO Bret Taylor departs, Q3 results top forecasts

Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) shares fell more than 5% in after-hours trading Wednesday as the cloud-based business software company said co-Chief Executive Bret Taylor will leave the company.

Taylor's resignation will take effect January 31, and co-CEO and company founder Marc Benioff will take over as Salesforce's (CRM) sole CEO at that time.

In a statement, Taylor said, "After a lot of reflection, I've decided to return to my entrepreneurial roots." Neither Taylor, nor Benioff gave any further details about Taylor's plans after he leaves Salesforce (CRM).

Benioff called Taylor's leaving Saleseforce (CRM) "bittersweet", but that it was "understandable" why Taylor would want to move on.

"Bret founded two incredible companies [prior to joining Salesforce]," Benioff said. "I’m excited to see his next chapter unfold."

Along with Taylor's departure, Salesforce (CRM) reported third-quarter earnings and sales that topped expectations.

For the quarter that ended October 31, Salesforce (CRM) earned $1.40 a share, excluding one-time items, on revenue of $7.84B. Wall Street analysts had previously forecast Salesforce (CRM) to earn $1.22 a share, excluding one-time items, on $7.82B in revenue.

During the year-ago period, Salesforce (CRM) earned $1.27 a share, excluding one-time items, on revenue of $6.86B.

Salesforce (CRM) also said that for its fiscal fourth quarter, it expects to earn between $1.35 and $1.37 a share, excluding one-time items, on revenue in a range of $7.93B to $8.03B.