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Ellison steps down as Oracle CEO: Our five favourite Larry moments

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19th Sep 2014
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After 37 years steering the ship as head of one of the world’s biggest, brashest organisations, Larry Ellison has stepped down as Oracle’s CEO.

He will remain on the board as chairman, but will hand his chief executive title over to current Oracle presidents, Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, who will share responsibility.

Oracle made it clear in a press statement yesterday that Ellison will still be extremely active in the running of the company moving forwards. However, with an estimated $46bn in the bank, Ellison will now seemingly have the opportunity to focus more of his time and money on one of his other true love – his boats.

As head of the world’s largest software business, Ellison has been a prominent figure in shaping the evolution of CRM, marketing and customer management technologies, among others.

Yet, in an era where Oracle aims to challenge in the hotly-contested Marketing Cloud market and reposition itself as a customer experience technology leader, the combination of Ellison’s status as an old-school authoritarian and his well-publicised intolerance of his own customers’ experience makes it a sensible and timely decision to hand the baton on to his nearest and dearest.

"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,” said Oracle board president Michael Boskin, in a press statement yesterday.

"Safra and Mark are exceptional executives who have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to lead, manage and grow the company. The directors are thrilled that the best senior executive team in the industry will continue to move the company forward into a bright future."

According to Bloomberg, Ellison has been slowly handing more responsibility over to Hurd and Catz in recent years, in any case. However, some industry commentators including FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives, still felt the timing of the announcement was "a bit of a head scratcher". Given its close proximity to the annual Dreamforce conference of Ellison's old confident-turned-arch-nemesis, Marc Benioff, some might suggest it simply serves as one last opportunity to blow a little bit of wind from the Salesforce.com sails.  

Our favourite Larry moments

The technology landscape will certainly be a different place without Larry Ellison, and given MyCustomer’s history of covering Larry news, we thought we’d reminisce about some of our favourite stories: 

Ah yes, the time the Oracle CEO decided he’d rather have an afternoon down by San Francisco Bay watching the America's Cup than turn up for his own OpenWorld keynote.
Even the prospect of repaying a $1 million sponsorship fee paid by Salesforce.com to attend OpenWorld couldn’t discourage Ellison from cancelling his rival’s keynote in 2011.
Back in the days when Ellison thought the Cloud was a load of bunkum, he delivered a Larry David-style rant on the topic at a Churchill Club event in San Francisco. No-one could accuse Larry of not curbing his enthusiasm for the Cloud....
Ellison’s personal financial adviser warned him that he faced a financial crisis in 2002, after blowing $25 million for a villa in Japan; $80 million in his pursuit of the America's Cup trophy; and $194 million for a new yacht.
What's the difference between Larry Ellison and James Bond? One is a tall, dashing sharp-suited ladies man with a sardonic turn of phrase who drives fast cars, flies jets, sails yachts and is a regular guest in the most glamorous hotels on every continent. The other, of course, is a fictional British secret agent. And Larry channelled his inner James Bond at an Oracle AppsWorld conference in 2003.

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