Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, April 22, 2024

Oracle’s Mark Hurd Dies at 62 

Oracle PR from Redwood Shores, Calif.

Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd, who was at that company for nearly 10 years and who played a lead in Oracle’s move into public cloud computing, has died at age 62 of an unspecified illness.

The company revealed last September 11 that Hurd had taken a leave of absence for health reasons and that Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison would take on Hurd’s responsibilities. While Hurd had focused on sales, marketing and market communications, co-CEO Safra Catz oversaw finance and legal.

“It is with a profound sense of sadness and loss that I tell everyone here at Oracle that Mark Hurd passed away early this morning,” wrote Ellison in a blog. “Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend, and trusted colleague. Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle. All of us will miss Mark’s keen mind and rare ability to analyze, simplify and solve problems quickly.”

After graduating from Baylor University, Hurd began in sales at NCR – then National Cash Register Corp. – in 1980, becoming CEO of that company in 2001. Four years later he took the post of CEO at Hewlett-Packard, where he stayed until resigning in August 2010 amid an investigation into whether he had violated HP's code of business conduct. The investigation concluded that Hurd had not broken the company's sexual-harassment policy, but it did determine Hurd had submitted inaccurate expense reports.

A month later, Hurd joined Oracle, at which time Ellison, according to a Bloomberg article, said: “There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark,” and called Hurd’s dismissal by HP the “worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs.”

During Hurd’s years at Oracle, the company rose in revenue and profits, and Oracle share prices rose to all-time highs this year. The Bloomberg article also said Hurd was “a key driver in Oracle’s turn from an old model of licensing software toward the use of cloud computing….” In building Oracle’s cloud capabilities, Hurd guided the company’s 2016 purchase of NetSuite for $9.3 billion. He also engineered deals with AT&T, Bank of America and Qantas Airlines to transfer their existing databases to Oracle cloud.

As for Hurd’s successor, observers have speculated about a number of senior Oracle managers. Ellison himself has mentioned Don Johnson, who runs of Oracle’s cloud infrastructure division, and Steve Miranda of Oracle’s applications unit, as potential co-CEOs alongside Catz, according to Bloomberg.