Guest post from Chad Eschinger, Gartner’s vendor lead for Oracle
While the news out of Redwood Shores on September 18th 2014 created a short burst of excitement throughout the IT and Media industries, nothing has really changed. The news from Oracle’s Board of Directors was that Mr. Ellison would relinquish the title of CEO electing him to the position of Executive Chairman of Oracle’s Board and appointed him the company’s Chief Technology Officer while jointly promoting Mark Hurd and Safra Catz to the position CEO. This is all that is new and both will report to the board.
What this transition does signify is after years of preparation that Mr. Ellison has decided to formally begin the initial steps on a succession strategy. Oracle has identified that there will be no reporting changes within Ms. Catz or Mr. Hurd’s reporting structures and that the changes are merely title related. Ms. Catz will still be focused on back office and operational duties while Mr. Hurd will be focused on sales and marketing. Mr. Ellison will remain involved in all products strategy and development activities for the foreseeable future.
This move relays that Mr. 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 Mr. Ellison is comfortable turning over more of the day-to-day operations to his new co-CEOs. 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. Clients can expect minimal to no changes in Oracle’s product strategy or technology direction given Larry 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. This co-CEO’s organization 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.
While there’s no time that would be perfect for such an announcement, Oracle does like to make big announcements prior to its upcoming user conference, Oracle Open World, to be held the week of September 28. I’m sure more will be discussed and rumors will be flying prior to and during the conference, so stay tuned.
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