Sunday, September 21, 2014

World's Fifth Richest Man Oracle CEO Ellison steps down

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison delivers a keynote address during the 2013 Oracle Open World conference on Sept. 22, 2013 in San Francisco.Larry Ellison announced Thursday he has agreed to step down as CEO of Oracle, the software powerhouse he co-founded.

Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, co-presidents of Oracle, will take the role as CEO. Catz will handle all manufacturing, finance and legal functions at the company, while Hurd manages "sales, service and vertical global business units."

Ellison, 70, founded the database giant in 1977 and has turned the company into the king of high-end business-focused software. He will remain with the company as the board's chairman and chief technology officer.

The concept of appointing two CEOs is not unusual. Software giant SAP operated under a two-CEO structure until Bill McDermott assumed the position solely in May. "It worked relatively well for a few years," says Gartner analyst Chad Eschinger, adding Oracle co-CEOs Hurd and Catz are "two very capable executives."

Ellison, a high-tech legend who oversaw one of the most charismatic and profitable runs for a leader in business history, announced his departure via a terse press release Thursday afternoon.

"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," Ellison said. "Keeping this management team in place has always been a top priority of mine."

Shares of Oracle were down about 2% in after-hours trading.

The new assignment for Ellison, the world's fifth-richest man and an avid sailor, signals a continuation of a major changing of the guard at one of the USA's most powerful technology companies. Some of the top tech companies, including Microsoft, Apple and now Oracle, have CEOs who were not founders.

Ellison, who was best friends with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, guided Oracle through nearly four decades of ups and downs and almost single-handedly created the world's largest database company. The company's products are a staple of modern commerce and industry.

USA Today

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