Miss an Oracle Meeting? Try America’s Cup Excuse

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has his priorities straight: Rather than give a keynote at Oracle’s customer conference OpenWorld on Tuesday, and also rather than participate in a quarterly conference call with analysts, Larry was watching his America’s Cup yachting team.

Larry EllisonExamining many years of tech conference keynotes, there are no reports of CEO’s bailing on their own speeches for extra-curricular activities, so Ellison’s dedication to sport over company may represent a first.

While it’s not known whether Ellison took a “personal day” from his Oracle job to attend the race, a more interesting question is how often other Oracle employees are allowed to skip important meetings to, say, attend their kid’s softball game.

Reuters, meanwhile, reports that many of those attending the would-be keynote left the venue, after it was announced Ellison was not going to be there.

“I can understand his dedication to the racing, but it does send an interesting message to the audience here about his priorities,” Oracle customer Mason McDaniel told the news agency. His company spent a few thousand dollars in travel expenses to send him from Washington, D.C., to OpenWorld, one of San Francisco’s biggest tech conferences, which attracts 60,000 attendees each year.

Given that Ellison controls the OpenWorld agenda and his keynotes are a big deal for attendees, it might have made more sense to schedule the Monday keynote around the racing taking place on the San Francisco Bay. Or vice versa.

As for Oracle’s first quarter conference call last week, it is widely believed Ellison is in possession of a smartphone that works out on the water and would have allowed him to call-in — had he chosen to do so.

Ellison’s Oracle Team USA staged an amazing comeback against the New Zealand team, beating them by a 44-second margin in a winner-takes-all final race Wednesday afternoon.

Although OpenWorld is still underway, it’s an easy guess where the Oracle CEO can be found.

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