Ex-Virgin Money chief Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia to head Salesforce UK

Dame jayne anne gadhia

Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, one of Britain’s most prominent businesswomen, is to make a surprising comeback to a frontline executive role by taking over the UK operations of Salesforce, the American cloud software giant.

It is understood that Dame Jayne-Anne, whose most recent executive job was as the boss of Virgin Money, will be announced on Tuesday as Salesforce’s UK and Ireland CEO.

Her appointment, which is understood to take effect in October, will catapult her into the ranks of the most senior managers at a company that has become a global leader in customer relationship management software.‎

Salesforce, which is run by joint CEOs Marc Benioff – who also serves as the company’s chairman – and Keith Block, announced plans earlier this year to invest $2.5bn in its UK operations.

Dame Jayne-Anne’s recruitment by the New York Stock Exchange-listed company, which has a market value of $127.5bn, will end lingering speculation that she is interested in the chief executive’s vacancy at Royal Bank of Scotland.

Her departure from Virgin Money was announced in the wake of its £1.7bn takeover by CYBG, which is now rebranding its Clydesdale and Yorkshire banking operations under the corporate name founded by Sir Richard Branson.

Dame Jayne-Anne, who was named Leader of the Year at last years National Business Awards, is due to join the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee next year, has joined and stepped down from the board of Stagecoach, the transport company, in recent months.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that she was canvassing investor support for Snoop, a new consumer-facing venture aimed at generating savings on household bills.

It was unclear how far that fundraising had progressed, but insiders said Dame Jayne-Anne still intended to chair the start-up.

Sources said it was conceivable that Salesforce’s venture arm could invest in Snoop, although the prospect of this could not be verified on Monday night.

One of the UK’s most recognisable businesswomen, Dame Jayne-Anne was honoured in January for her contribution to financial services and women in the finance industry.

Under her stewardship, the Treasury’s Women in Finance charter has now committed most of the biggest banks, insurers and asset managers to a series of pledges regarding the recruitment and treatment of female employees.

As chief executive of Virgin Money, she oversaw the acquisition of Northern Rock from the Government in 2011 and its subsequent integration and stock market flotation.

Earlier this year, Dame Jayne-Anne declined to comment on the details of her proposed start-up but said: “I learned from Richard Branson that there’s nothing more exciting than setting up a new business.”

Her re-emergence in a major executive post will make her one of the top Britons working in a major US-listed company.

Salesforce recently acquired Tableau, another cloud enterprise company, for $15.7bn – the biggest takeover in its history.

The American company has also struck an alliance with the Chinese internet giant Alibaba to distribute its products in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

From a standing start in 1999, Salesforce is now one of the most richly valued software companies in the world.

Dame Jayne-Anne could not be reached for comment on Monday, while Salesforce declined to comment.‎