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Changing of the Guard at Oracle Corporation

Oracle News from Bryan Misenheimer

March 3, 2015

In  September 2015, Oracle Corporation announced that president Charles Phillips had stepped down from his position and from the Oracle board of directors.  This move generated a flurry of media interest related to the supposition that a personal scandal had been the motivating factor for Phillips' departure.  Further speculation was focused on the resignation being associated with Phillips' public statements regarding an alleged five year $70 billion acquisition plan.  Oracle quickly denied the existence of such a five year mergers and acquisitions plan.  In a press release from Oracle Corporation, CEO Larry Ellison was quick to dismiss these notions by stating,  "When Charles approached me last December and expressed his desire to transition out of the company, I asked him to stay on through the Sun integration which has gone well. We will miss his talent and leadership, but I respect his decision."

Concurrent with the announcement of Phillips' departure, Oracle announced the addition of Mark V. Hurd as new President and member of the board of directors.  Hurd, former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard (HP), resigned from his position at the technology powerhouse in August under pressure from the HP board regarding an undisclosed personal relationship with a co-worker that resulted in a harassment allegation and associated irregularities with expense statements. 

Ellison candidly condemned HP's short-sightedness via a letter sent to the New York Times saying, "The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago."  Ellison continued on to say, "In losing Mark Hurd, the HP board failed to act in the best interest of HP's employees, shareholders, customers and partners."

Oracle Corporation would not overlook the attributes that Hurd brought to the table.  Their press release on his addition to the Oracle team included the following statements of support from Ellison: "Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he?ll do even better at Oracle. There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark. Oracle's future is engineering complete and integrated hardware and software systems for the enterprise. Mark pioneered the integration of hardware with software when Teradata was a part of NCR."

While at HP, Hurd was credited with breathing new life into the technology giant by cutting costs and pursuing ambitious acquisitions.  During his tenure, HP pushed past Dell, one of their strongest competitors, in the personal computer market.  In his role as co-president at Oracle Corporation, Hurd will undoubtedly be working with Ellison to continue Oracle's strong forward momentum in the IT industry.  Since 2005, Ellison has purchased more than 65 companies, including the previously referenced acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc. last year. 

With Hurd's experience, the software titan should now be well-armed for its move into integrated hardware solutions that work with its already powerful software products in order to provide complete technology solutions to its customers.  According to Hurd himself, "I believe Oracle's strategy of combining software with hardware will enable Oracle to beat IBM in both enterprise servers and storage."  It is clear that Oracle has just begun its battle for ultimate supremacy in the areas of software, applications, middleware and hardware.

Hurd is serving as co-president with Ms. Safra Catz, who is reported to primarily handle financial and legal matters.  Hurd's responsibilities are in sales, marketing and customer support.  Both Hurd and Catz report directly to Ellison.  This is a formidable team at the helm of an industry leader with share growth for 2015 reported as 28 percent in December 2015.  Bloomberg reported the same month that the company's growth appeared to top the analysts' forecasts, indicating that expansion into hardware is benefiting the company.

It will be very interesting to see where this team will take Oracle Corporation in the next fiscal year and beyond.


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