Partners Hoping Kurian Can Reshape Oracle Into Cloud Computing Powerhouse

Eighteen-year Oracle veteran executive Thomas Kurian has been promoted to president of product development, and several longtime Oracle partners told CRN they're thrilled with the move.

Kurian was previously executive vice president of product development, a role that focused on Oracle's Fusion middleware portfolio. Now, he'll be tasked with leading Oracle's software development and its ongoing efforts to reshape itself as a go-to service provider for cloud apps.

An Oracle spokesperson declined to comment on Kurian's promotion, which was first reported Friday by Bloomberg. Kurian's biography page on Oracle's website has been updated with his new title.

[Related: Hurd Says Customers Would Rather Buy Cloud From Oracle Than AWS]

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Kurian fills a role that had been vacant since September when co-presidents Mark Hurd and Safra Catz were named co-CEOs.

Kurian has led a world-class development and product strategy group and is a big reason why Oracle's products are highly regarded in the marketplace, Troy Lutes, senior vice president of Oracle solutions at Hitachi Consulting, told CRN.

"Kurian's product-first leadership style will be good for Oracle," said Lutes.

No one tells the story of Oracle's vertically integrated product portfolio better than Kurian, said Rhos Dyke, vice president of solution sales at Dynamic Systems, an Oracle partner in El Segundo, Calif.

"He is way ahead of the curve when it comes to explaining why this is important to customers -- and partners," Dyke said. "He's able to articulate Oracle product strategy better than anyone else in the company other than maybe Larry Ellison."

Kurian is also a visionary with a keen sense for where the industry is headed, according to Dyke. "My sense is that Kurian can see around corners, which is another reason why promoting him is a terrific move," he said.

Not all Oracle partners are so bullish on Kurian's appointment, however.

Oracle was a late entry to the cloud market but now has a portfolio of PaaS, IaaS and Software-as-a-Service apps that it claims no other vendor can match. But, so far, it's not clear if customers will be willing to buy all of their cloud services from Oracle, sources told CRN.

One Oracle partner told CRN he's hoping Kurian can solidify Oracle's cloud story and make it more compelling for customers.

"Oracle has a gray message about what they want out of the cloud. As a provider to cloud companies, he should do well. But can he make Oracle a cloud leader? That's not clear," said the source, who requested anonymity.