Larry Ellison is handing over his position as chairman of
Oracle Corp. to the company’s chief financial officer, Jeff Henley, Oracle announced Monday in a statement. Ellison remains chief executive of the company.
In addition two executives, Safra Catz and Charles Phillips, were appointed as company presidents reporting to Ellison, Oracle said. The database giant has been without a president since Ray Lane left in June 2000 to work at a venture capital firm.
With Henley’s promotion to chairman the Redwood Shores, Calif., company is now seeking a new CFO. Henley, a 13-year Oracle veteran, will fill the role until a successor is found. The new appointments are effective immediately, the company said.
Oracle has struggled since Lane’s departure, said Colin White, an industry analyst with BI Research Inc. in Ashland, Oregon. Monday’s management shuffle appears to be an attempt to bring fresh ideas to the company’s executive team, which has been dominated by Ellison’s larger-than-life personality, White said.
“It certainly suggests that Larry’s been taken out of the driving seat to a certain extent,” White said.
Since Lane’s departure, Oracle has been criticized for lacking depth in its management team. By appointing three executives to such senior roles, Oracle is now hoping to rebut such criticism, White said. “It sounds like basically what is happening is they’re saying, ‘We need life after Ellison,'” he said.
Catz will retain her role as Oracle’s head of global operations, and Phillips will be in charge of the company’s sales, marketing, and consulting operations, Oracle said. The decisions were made at a meeting of Oracle’s board Monday.
Catz and Phillips’ promotions were made “in recognition of the enormous contributions” they have made at Oracle, said company spokeswoman Jennifer Glass. She disputed the claim that Oracle’s senior management team lacked depth. “Oracle has been criticized for that for years. We think we have enormous bench strength and always have,” she said.
Ellison described Henley as an “expert on corporate governance and accounting” and said his knowledge and experience make him ideally qualified to become Oracle’s chairman.