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Tech Exec Aneel Bhusri Becomes A Billionaire As Workday Shares Soar

Jan 6 2014, 4:36pm CST | by

Tech Exec Aneel Bhusri Becomes A Billionaire As Workday Shares Soar

Photo Credit: Forbes

Aneel Bhusri wears many hats. A Silicon Valley veteran, he’s been a partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners for the last 15 years. More recently, he’s served as co-CEO of enterprise software firm Workday. And now, he’s a billionaire.

Bhusri, who cofounded Workday, lands in ten-figure territory thanks to his Workday shares, which have been on a steady upward trajectory since the Pleasanton, Calif.-based software firm went public in Oct. 2012. Shares closed on Monday at an all-time high of $84.59, up 2.57%. That makes Workday’s 47-year-old co-CEO–who owns about a 5% stake in Workday–worth an estimated $1 billion.

Bhusri declined to comment for this story.

The business partner and best friend of longtime Forbes 400 member David Duffield, Bhusri was interviewed by FORBES contributor George Anders for a  Forbes magazine article on Workday  in September. The son of a telecom engineer who emigrated from India, he attended Brown University and pursued degrees in economics and electrical engineering. “I liked business,” Bhusri told FORBES. “I found it fascinating.”

He met Duffield some 20 years ago while finishing his M.B.A. at Stanford, joining up with his current Workday co-CEO at PeopleSoft, which Duffield founded. In helping to grow PeopleSoft, Bhusri cultivated a strong working relationship with the company’s founder and CEO. That bond that persisted long after the human resources software provider was acquired in a hostile takeover by Oracle for $10.3 billion in 2005.

Nine out of 10 co-CEO arrangements don’t work well,” Workday director George Still, who introduced the pair to one other in 1993, told Anders for the FORBES magazine article.  But Still added Bhusri and Duffield have made an effective team over the years “because of the values they share. They both have very long horizons. They put the customer first. They lead by example — and they treat all people the same.”

While the bulk of Bhusri’s fortune is comprised of Workday stock and options, he’s also carved out a well-respected career as a venture capitalist at Greylock Partners. Ranked at No. 13 on the most recent Forbes Midas List, the now part-time investor led the firm’s investments in I.T. firm Data Domain (acquired by EMC for $2.4 billion in 2009) and cloud-based software company Cloudera, where he serves on the board.

No investment, however, compares to Bhusri’s gains with Workday. Since its public debut in Oct. 2012, the human resources and financial software provider’s shares are up more than 70%, even though the company has yet to make a profit. That upward trajectory made Duffield, the company’s largest individual shareholder with a more than 40% stake, the largest percent gainer on in the September 2014 Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. Based on Monday’s closing share price, Duffield is now worth $7 billion.

Bhusri owns more than 8 million shares and more than 3 million in-the-money, unexercised options in Workday. FORBES estimates that Bhusri also owns small stakes in social networking companies Facebook and LinkedIn, which were both backed by Greylock. Fellow billionaire and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman cofounded LinkedIn and now serves as chairman.

“Aneel has this deep intellectual curiosity,” Hoffman told FORBES back in September. “He’s like a fisherman, casting for ideas. And he’s very encouraging, so people tell him a lot.”

Bhusri now has deeper pockets to go with that intellect.

Forbes 400 2013: Richest In Tech

With reporting from George Anders in San Francisco.

Follow me on Twitter at @RMac18.

Source: Forbes

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