Oracle makes clean sweep of PeopleSoft board as founder Duffield departs

Oracle ended 2004 comfortably in control of PeopleSoft and making a clean sweep of its acquisition's board of directors to cement its grip on the firm.

Oracle removed four top PeopleSoft executives and replaced them with Oracle executives. Out went PeopleSoft co-presidents Kevin Parker and Phillip Wilmington, replaced predictably enough by their Oracle equivalents Safra Catz and Charles Phillips - the two main executors of the takeover.

Also gone were PeopleSoft executive vice president and chief marketing officer Nanci Caldwell and James Shaughnessy, senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary. Harry You, chief financial officer at Oracle, will takeover the same financial post at PeopleSoft and Daniel Cooperman will become PeopleSoft's new general counsel and secretary, the same positions he held at Oracle.

The clean sweep followed the earlier resignation of PeopleSoft founder and acting chief executive David Duffield. Symbolically perhaps, Duffield chose to step down shortly before Oracle announced that it had taken control of 75 per cent of PeopleSoft stock, confirming it was now in charge of the company it had hunted down for almost 18 months.

Duffield resigned as CEO, chairman and director on 21st December, according to the brief document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He had been chief executive since October, when the board unexpectedly fired then-CEO Craig Conway at the height of the Oracle takeover struggle. Duffield had served as chairman of Pleasanton since its incorporation in 1987. He was also its chief executive from August 1987 through September 1999 before returning to the position in 2004.

As of the 30th December, Oracle said that 75 per cent of PeopleSoft shareholders had tendered their shares. The company will save time and money if it can get 90 per cent of PeopleSoft shares tendered by mid-January. If 90 pe cent of shares are tendered, Oracle can avoid having to hold an offical shareholder vote to close the deal. Such a vote would delay the completion by several weeks.

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