Like the United States and the United Kingdom, Salesforce.com and Autodesk could be said to have a “special relationship” — especially when it comes to finance chiefs. Yesterday, when the San Francisco-based software firms both announced that Autodesk CFO Mark Hawkins was leaving to fill that spot at Salesforce, it was the second time that happened in the last dozen years.

Mark Hawkins, Salesforce.com’s new finance chief

In April 2002, after five years as finance chief at Autodesk, which sells design software, Steve Cakebread became CFO at Salesforce.com, an eventual heavyweight in cloud computing. But there’s more to the story of the ties that bind the two firms, which happen to occupy the same office tower.

In August 2007, according to an account in CNet, Salesforce.com promoted Cakebread to president and chief executive officer. The vacancy at CFO was filled by Graham Smith, who had been finance chief at Advent Software.

“For Smith and Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff, it will be a reunion of sorts. Benioff and Smith worked together for roughly a decade at Oracle, where Smith worked in the finance department,” according to CNet.

Small world. In February, Smith, 54, announced his forthcoming retirement. On August 1, the 55-year-old Hawkins will leave Autodesk to take over the finance helm at Salesforce. Considering that he’s moving from a firm with a $13 billion market cap to a company three times that size, he doesn’t seem to be getting a substantial raise.

Hawkins’ 2014 annual base salary at Autodesk was $595,884. At Salesforce, along with a $500,000 signing bonus, payable in two installments, Hawkins will get an annual base salary of $650,000. But then again, there will be an initial bonus targeted at 100% of his base salary and the possibility of much more at the growth-hungry juggernaut, which is noted for doling out stock options.

Smith’s base salary at Salesforce is $600,000.

Hawkins has been CFO of Autodesk since 2009. From 2006 to 2009, he was finance chief at Logitech International. Before that, he held various finance and business-management spots with Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

Photo by Salesforce.com

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