Oracle's top North American sales executive is reportedly gone from the company after he wrote messages that were critical of the software giant's current management and was especially critical of Oracle's $7.3 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
Keith Block's reported departure may be part of a broader company reorganization that Oracle will reportedly disclose later this week when it announces its fiscal 2012 fourth-quarter and year-end earnings.
Block's departure was reported this afternoon in a Forbes.com story that was based on an interview with UBS analyst Brent Thill. Oracle did not immediately return a request for comment, and UBS did not return a request to confirm Thill's statements.
Executive vice president Block has run Oracle's North American sales operations since September 2002 with the company's North American channel operations reporting to him. Before joining Oracle Block was a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton.
The Forbes story quoted Thill as saying that Block wrote messages that "bashed senior management," described Sun as "dead, dead, dead" and said Oracle customers don't ever talk about Sun. The story also said Block had made harsh comments about Oracle co-president Mark Hurd.
The messages apparently came to light during the discovery process relating to the Oracle-Hewlett-Packard legal fight over Oracle's decision to stop developing software for the Itanium microprocessors used in HP servers.
Oracle may announce a "major reorganization" on Thursday when the company announces its quarterly earnings, the Forbes story said, quoting a research note from JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens. JMP Securities did not immediately return a request for a copy of the research note.
While Oracle has generally reported healthy sales and earnings growth in recent years, sales of hardware products it acquired when it bought Sun have been declining. Oracle has attributed that to its decision to phase sales of low-cost Sun servers with narrow margins.
During the company's third-quarter earnings call in March, CEO Larry Ellison vowed that the company's hardware sales would stabilize and begin to grow in fiscal 2013, which began June 1.