Salesforce has exerted leadership in the cloud for more than a decade and shows no sign of slowing down.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that Salesforce COO George Hu will be speaking at CloudBeat 2013, our event that showcases the leading disruptive technologies in the cloud [CloudBeat takes place September 9-10 in San Francisco; you can buy tickets here].

Hu’s story is impressive. He joined Salesforce as an intern in 2002 and then shot up through the company’s ranks. He’s now second in command beside CEO Marc Benioff and touches most strategic areas of the business. He is driving acquisitions, including Heroku, a centerpiece of Salesforce’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS) play, and Jigsaw and Radian6, key planks of Salesforce’s data-powered future.

Salesforce is driving forward on two main planks.

First, its customer relationship management (CRM) application is the biggest cloud application; it was the first to pass a billion dollars in revenues. And Salesforce is now buying up tangential businesses, including Buddy Media and Exacttarget, to make its sales and marketing software suite even more compelling. It is even partnering with other companies, including Oracle, to integrate its cloud offerings with others.

Second, Salesforce is powering a host of new (and sometimes competing) application developers with its PaaS platforms like Heroku and Here, it’s bringing social features to other businesses with products like Chatter and beginning the long play of unlocking and monetizing data with and It’s also pushing skunkworks projects around predictive analytics, related to its Prior Knowledge acquisition.

And here, at the platform level, Salesforce is pitting itself against Amazon, which is the leader in providing the underlying public cloud infrastructure. Amazon is attacking the platform from the ground up, extending its database services to include Relational Database Services (RDS) and DynamoDB. Meantime, Salesforce is driving from the top down. Both are trying to take their existing customers with them on this journey.

And then, or course, there are new aggressive challengers, like the $1 billion-dollar venture Pivotal, backed by EMC, VMware, and GE. We’ll also have Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz at CloudBeat, talking about Pivotal One for the first time — and its own vision for a future-oriented cloud platform.

There’s no one better to give us an insightful look at where Salesforce might go next than Hu. Interviewing him at CloudBeat will be Gordon Ritter, the venture capitalist at Emergence Capital Partners who was an early investor in

Hu doesn’t take the stage very often (I talked with him on stage at DEMO two years ago , and we had him back again last year), so we very much look forward to diving deep with him at CloudBeat.

Full CloudBeat 2013 details are here, and make sure to register today! We’re filling up.

Special thanks to the industry leaders who are supporting CloudBeat 2013: IBM jStart as Gold Sponsor; ArchPoint Partners as Silver Sponsor; and CareCloud, Norwest Venture Partners, and Plex Systems as Event Sponsors.