Larry Ellison Steps Down As Oracle CEO

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Larry Ellison steps down as Oracle’s chief executive, with the former boss of HP appointed as joint CEO

Oracle has signified the end of an era with the announcement that the 37 year-reign of co-founder Larry Ellison is over. The 70-year old has stepped down as CEO at the software giant he helped create and will now serve as Executive Chairman of the Board, and as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

Ellison has been replaced by two CEOs, namely Safra Catz and Mark Hurdm the latter of which had long been viewed as a possible successor to not only Ellison but also Steve Ballmer at Microsoft until Hurd ruled himself out last year.

Two CEOs

mark hurd oracle grinning square

Hurd however has every reason to be loyal to Oracle and Ellison. He joined Oracle in 2010 at personal low point, when Ellison hired him a month after he had been forced to resign as CEO of Hewlett-Packard amid allegations of sexual harassment. No charges were ever levelled at Hurd, but HP’s board of directors said he had violated the company’s business practices by filing misleading expense reports.

During his five years at HP, Hurd was credited with stabilising the company’s financial numbers, but drew criticism from some corners for relying too much on cost-cutting as a way of hitting those goals.

Ellison quickly hired Hurd as Oracle president and sharply criticised the HP board, saying the decision to get rid of Hurd was as bad as the decision by the Apple board in the mid-1980s to fire founder Steve Jobs. Over the past four years, Hurd has become a major spokesman for Oracle on a range of subjects, from cloud computing to data centre hardware to enterprise software.

Joint Responsibilities

Safra Catz 52 will be responsible for manufacturing, finance, and legal functions, whereas Mark Hurd will oversea all sales, service and vertical industry global business units. Larry Ellison meanwhile will be in charge of all software and hardware engineering functions.

“Safra and Mark will now report to the Oracle Board rather than to me,” said Larry Ellison in a statement. “All the other reporting relationships will remain unchanged. The three of us have been working well together for the last several years, and we plan to continue working together for the foreseeable future. Keeping this management team in place has always been a top priority of mine.”

“Larry has made it very clear that he wants to keep working full time and focus his energy on product engineering, technology development and strategy,” said the Oracle Board’s Presiding Director, Dr. Michael Boskin. “Safra and Mark are exceptional executives who have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to lead, manage and grow the company. The Directors are thrilled that the best senior executive team in the industry will continue to move the company forward into a bright future.”

Oracle’s existing chairman, Jeff Henley, meanwhile has been appointed as Oracle’s Vice Chairman of the Board.

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