Former US Secretary of State Powell joins Salesforce.com board

Powell is no tech newbie, having worked in venture capital since 2005

Former U.S. Secretary of State and retired Army general Colin Powell has joined the board of Salesforce.com, in a move that gives the cloud software vendor a seasoned Washington insider on its team as it looks to generate more business from government agencies.

"General Powell is an extraordinary leader who has inspired and influenced me during more than 15 years of friendship," Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement. "He was also instrumental in shaping Salesforce.com's integrated philanthropic model and the formation of the Salesforce.com Foundation many years ago."

"Salesforce.com has been a remarkable leader, and has inspired many other companies, as it has made philanthropy a central part of its value system," Powell said in another statement.

Since retiring from public service, Powell has gained experience in the tech world, serving since 2005 as a strategic limited partner at the high-profile Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.

Salesforce.com counts other former top government officials among its ranks. In 2012, it hired Vivek Kundra, the first U.S. federal government CIO, as executive vice president of emerging markets.

Also in 2012, Salesforce.com announced the Government Cloud, a dedicated instance of its cloud services that complies with FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) requirements, and followed that up last year with a set of mobile applications for government.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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