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Ellison stays in Oracle driving seat despite transition

Computerworld NZ staff | Sept. 24, 2014
Titles may well be changing at Oracle, but will Larry Ellison remain in the driving seat?

The man who, almost a year to the day, so shamelessly skipped his final keynote as Oracle CEO to spectacularly end Team New Zealand's hopes of America's Cup success is taking his hands off the wheel.

As reported by Computerworld last week, Larry Ellison plans to relinquish the title of CEO at the vendor, instead electing himself to the position of Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer.

Jointly promoting Mark Hurd and Safra Catz to the position CEO in the process, titles may well be changing at Oracle, but will Ellison remain in the driving seat?

"What this transition does signify is after years of preparation that Ellison has decided to formally begin the initial steps on a succession strategy," comments Chad Eschinger, Gartner's vendor lead for Oracle.

Eschinger says Oracle has identified that there will be "no reporting changes" within Catz or Hurd's reporting structures and that the changes are merely "title related."

"Catz will still be focused on back office and operational duties while Hurd will be focused on sales and marketing," he adds.

"Ellison will remain involved in all products strategy and development activities for the foreseeable future."

Eschinger, who boasts 16 years in the IT industry, believes this move shows that Ellison is taking the essential beginning steps to ensure a succession plan for the coming years.

"While the announcement took many by surprise the way it was introduced to the market was appropriate and the succession statements show that Ellison is comfortable turning over more of the day-to-day operations to his new co-CEOs," he adds.

"Yet with a passion for the company and technology, he's not ready to relinquish direct involvement in the development and direction of the company he helped found."

As a result, Eschinger remains unequivocal in his belief that clients can expect "minimal to no changes" in Oracle's product strategy or technology direction given Ellison is retaining product development.

"We expect, even in his new role as Chairman of the Board, he will maintain the current product development course and speed for the foreseeable future," he adds.

"This co-CEO's organisation model is not unique. What is unique is that the new Oracle CEO's do not have product development which typically is a significant means of achieving the CEO's objectives. How this will play out is going to be worth watching."

Few CEOs have been as consistently entertaining as Ellison, check out his best zingers here.

 

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