Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Ellison Steps Down As Oracle CEO 

Larry Ellison, the brash Silicon Valley entrepreneur and college drop out who built Oracle into a software and enterprise computing powerhouse, will step down as the company's CEO and assume the dual roles of board chairman and chief technology officer, the company announced late Thursday.

It will take two executives to replace the larger-the-life Ellison. Oracle said both Safra Catz and Mark Hurd were appointed CEO. Catz and Hurd will divide Ellison previous duties, with Catz overseeing manufacturing, finance and legal functions. Hurd's portfolio includes sales, service and "vertical industry global business units."

In his new role, Ellison will continue to oversee all of Oracle's software and hardware engineering operations.

The executive shakeup also includes Jeff Henley, who will give way to Ellison as board chairman but remain with the company as vice chairman of Oracle's board.

The announcement of the Oracle executive shakeup was unexpected. The company's remains among the largest technology companies in the world, and Ellison has amassed one of the largest personal fortunes in history.

In a statement announcing the shakeup, Ellison indicated he has no immediate plans to retire. "Safra and Mark will now report to the Oracle Board rather than to me," Ellison said. "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."

Added Michael Boskin, the Oracle board's presiding officer: "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."

Catz joined Oracle as a senior vice president in April 1999. She joined Oracle's board in 2001 and previously served as chief financial officer. Catz has also held the title of president of Oracle since January 2004.

Hurd joined Oracle in 2010 as president and a member of the company's board. He previously served as president, CEO, and chairman of Hewlett-Packard. Before being forced out of the company, he was widely credited with reinvigorating the technology giant as it struggled in the post-PC era.

Hurd was forced to resign from HP in 2010 after an internal investigation uncovered a scandal involving an inappropriate relationship with an HP contractor along with the submission of inaccurate expense reports.

Oracle said both Catz and Hurd would be named CEO, not co-CEOs. The company offered no explanation for the unusual executive arrangement other than to say they would essentially divide Ellison's previous duties.

Ellison has long maintained a high profile as the driving force behind Oracle. His reported 2013 compensation package of about $77 million rankled some shareholders. It also makes him among the highest paid executives in the world.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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