The Zen master is leaving his CEO post at Oracle.
Larry Ellison (News - Alert), one of Silicon Valley’s celebrity executives, revealed plans late Thursday to vacate the position, handing over the reins to co-presidents Mark Hurd (News - Alert) and Safra Catz, who will now report directly to the board.
Known for his love of Japanese style and sailing, Ellison will stay on as chairman and CTO. Meanwhile, Catz will oversee finance, legal, and manufacturing matters, and Hurd will focus on sales, service and Oracle’s vertical global business units.
Ellison, now 70, co-founded Oracle in 1977 and has presided over the company ever since. He and his team built the company into a software giant, and expanded into hardware as well with the 2010 acquisition of another Silicon Valley giant, Sun Microsystems (News - Alert).
While Ellison has created great value for Oracle and its shareholders over many years, the past couple of years have been a bit of a battle. The company has recently missed earnings expectations as it struggles to reinvent itself, in the words of Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdry. (On the upside, however, Ellison and his crew won the 2013 America’s Cup boating event, which Ellison skipped his Oracle OpenWorld keynote to attend last year around this time.)
That reinvention apparently relies heavily on acquisitions, as Oracle has opened its wallet frequently in recent months. The company has been particularly active in snapping up marketing automation firms.
Oracle’s recent acquisitions include BigMachines, BlueKai Compendium, Eloqua (News - Alert), and Responsys. BigMachines offers cloud-based solutions that enable sales people to more easily generate quotes and pricing for their customers. BlueKai offers a media-independent data management platform, audience data marketplace, and analytics system intended to make businesses more intelligent and efficient. Compendium offers cloud-based capabilities that enable companies to more easily create, monitor and promote their mobile and other online content. Eloqua is another cloud-based marketing automation outfit, which the company announced plans to buy in December 2012. Responsys, which Oracle announced plans to buy almost exactly a year later, also is a marketing cloud software and services company that many major brands use to create and manage marketing across e-mail, mobile, social, and web channels. Oracle is bringing these solutions together under its Oracle Customer Experience Cloud.
In the past couple years Oracle has also purchased telecom equipment outfits Acme Packet, a session border controller company, and Tekelec (News - Alert), best known for its policy and signaling solutions.