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Salesforce Hires Ex-Oracle Executive Block to Lead Sales Push Inc., the largest maker of customer-management software, named former Oracle Corp. sales executive Keith Block as president and vice chairman.

Block, who spent 26 years at Oracle, will lead Salesforce’s customer-facing operations, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement today.

Salesforce has been expanding into applications for online marketing and human resources, and hiring veterans of the enterprise-software industry to help fuel growth. Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff hired former Oracle and SAP AG engineering executive John Wookey in 2011. This week, Salesforce agreed to acquire ExactTarget Inc. for $2.5 billion to extend a push into online-marketing tools.

“His exceptional track record leading sales, consulting and engineering teams makes him a powerful addition to our world-class distribution and leadership team,” Benioff said of Block in the statement.

Block, who left Oracle last year, used text messages to a human-resources executive at the software maker to make disparaging comments about Oracle co-president Mark Hurd, and about products acquired from Sun Microsystems in 2010. The messages, posted to the website Scribd by technology blog AllThingsD, emerged as part of a lawsuit between Oracle and Hewlett-Packard Co., where Hurd was once CEO.

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