Business, Enterprise, Software Programs

Mark Hurd Joins Oracle as Co-President


Late Monday, Oracle announced that Mark Hurd joined the company as Co-President and has been named to Oracle’s Board of Directors. Hurd will report to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

Hurd joins Safra Catz as co-presidents under Ellison. Charles Phillips, formerly co-president with Catz, announced his resignation from the company on Monday, September 6th. Ellison said: "When Charles approached me last December and expressed his desire to transition out of the company, I asked him to stay on through the Sun integration which has gone well. We will miss his talent and leadership, but I respect his decision."

Earlier this year, Phillips acknowledged having an affair after a woman he had been seeing put up a Web site and billboards detailing his extramarital relationship.

Ellison, a personal friend of Hurd’s, criticized HP’s board last month in an e-mail message to The New York Times, saying it was "the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago." Some reports say Ellison is tennis buddies with Hurd. [If you’re a member of the Silicon Valley CEO tennis club you must look out for your buddies? Ed.]

Hurd resigned from HP at the request of the Board as the result of an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against him and HP by Jodie Fisher, a former company contractor. That saga became one of the more talked about Silicon Valley soap operas of the past few years. Besides holding the office of co-president, Hurd and Phillips appear to have outside activities in common as well.

Larry Ellison celebrates winning the Americas Cup 2010 in Valencia, SpainEllison, since co-founding Oracle 30 years ago, has been known as a strident task master and strongly opinionated about his vision of how the computing world should work. Many senior managers have come and gone including, Ray Lane, now a managing partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Marc Benioff, now the chief executive of Both left high-ranking positions at Oracle.

Oracle announced their intent to acquire Sun MicroSystems in April 2009. At the time, Jonathan Schwartz had been CEO of Sun. Nine months after the acquisition, he left. Schwartz was looked upon as a solid leader and had a clear vision on how to use social media in an organization. His parting use of social media on February was a final Tweet in Haiku: "today’s my last day at Sun. I’ll miss it. Seems only fitting to end on a #haiku. Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more?"

Everyone always puts on a public face that their divorce from Oracle is amicable.

Now, speculation will be whether Mark Hurd can take the reins of Sun and make it a viable competitor to HP. Keep in mind, HP sells the computer servers and storage systems that customers use to run Oracle’s database software.

Safra Catz will continue to oversee Oracle’s finance, legal and merger and acquisition operations, while Larry Ellison will oversee engineering. Mark Hurd will manage sales, marketing, and software support.