Oracle Bombshell: Ellison Stepping Down As CEO, Catz And Hurd To Share CEO Duties


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Larry Ellison is stepping down as Oracle CEO and passing the reins to his two co-presidents, Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based vendor said Thursday.

Ellison is moving into the role of CTO and also has been named executive chairman of Oracle's board of directors, taking over for Jeff Henley, who'd held that role for the past decade.

As CTO, Ellison will oversee all of Oracle's software and hardware engineering functions, the vendor said in a statement outlining the leadership changes.

[Related: Oracle North American Sales Chief Matt Mills Departs After 21 Years]

Oracle said its board has tapped Catz and Hurd to share CEO duties. Catz, who joined Oracle in 1999, will handle all manufacturing, finance and legal functions. Hurd, who joined Oracle in 2010 after a five-year run as HP CEO, will oversee sales, service and vertical industry global business units.

"Safra and Mark will now report to the Oracle board rather than to me," Ellison said in the 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."

Ellison has been Oracle's CEO since the company's founding in 1977, when it was known as Software Development Laboratories (SDL). He's probably the most iconic CEO in enterprise technology, and partners told CRN they're relieved that he's not leaving the company.

"Larry Ellison has been the driving force behind Oracle's success from the very beginning. He's done a lot for furthering technology and has been an aggressive voice in the tech world," said Douglas Grosfield, president and CEO of Xylotek Solutions, a Cambridge, Ontario-based solution provider. "He's on par with Steve Jobs as far as driving innovation in the industry, so his presence will be missed."

After several consecutive quarters of lackluster earnings, and ongoing struggles in hardware, Ellison appears to have decided to get closer to Oracle's technology development. "Larry's going back into the garage," one longtime Oracle partner told CRN. "The vertical integration story hasn't been working."

Oracle Thursday also reported financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2015. For the quarter, ended August 31, Oracle reported revenue of $8.6 billion, up 3 percent from revenue of $8.37 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Oracle's sales missed analysts' average expectations of $8.78 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Earnings for the quarter of $2.18 billion, or 48 cents per share, were flat compared to the year-ago quarter of $2.19 billion, or 47 cents per share.

Ramin Edmond contributed to this story.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 18, 2014

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