Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff praised San Francisco’s efforts to clean up the streets ahead of his company’s largest annual conference this week, days after he publicly threatened to cancel the event due to the city’s rampant crime and homelessness.
Benioff had called for action from city and state officials ahead of his company’s annual “Dreamforce” conference, warning that the 2023 edition could be the last to be held in San Francisco if local leaders don’t address his concerns.
“We put a lot of pressure on the city this year,” Benioff told reporters Wednesday. according to Bloomberg. “This looks great. It’s very safe at the moment. We’re moving in the right direction.”
Losing the Dreamforce conference would be another major blow to San Francisco, which has struggled with an exodus of businesses and constant criticism from leaders as it grapples with lawlessness, drug use and other glaring public safety problems.
This year, the conference was expected to attract about 43,000 attendees and generate nearly $90 million in revenue for San Francisco, according to San Francisco Travel Association data cited by Salesforce.
Benioff reportedly dodged a follow-up question about whether the apparent progress in San Francisco meant the Salesforce conference would be held again next year.
“Homelessness remains a major problem in our city,” Benioff said.
He also called on San Francisco to hire more police officers, increase enforcement of existing laws and build more affordable housing.
A Gallup poll last month found that nearly half of Americans believe the once-shining city by the bay is a dangerous place. according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
One notable critic of San Francisco’s management is X owner Elon Musk, who said in May that the city felt “post-apocalyptic.”
Bloomberg noted that Oracle and Google recently moved events out of San Francisco.
Dreamforce runs through Thursday and features a mix of speeches and panel discussions, entertainment and appearances from well-known celebrities and world-class executives.
At a later event Wednesday, Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom joked that officials would “pay attention” to Benioff because “we want to keep you here.”
“It is an ongoing effort to increase the visibility of police and community ambassadors in key tourist areas,” a spokesman for San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “San Francisco is committed to making Dreamforce a world-class event, as we do year after year.”
Last month, Benioff openly stated that Dreamforce would need a new home if local authorities did not address the major problems plaguing San Francisco.
“If this Dreamforce is affected by the current situation with homelessness and drug use, it could be the last Dreamforce in the city,” Benioff said said the San Francisco Chronicle on August 29th.
Salesforce did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for further comment.