Contrary to some published reports, former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison isn’t really retiring. Although he’s turned over the chief-executive reins to co-presidents Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, he retains the CTO and executive chairman positions, which means he maintains an iron grip over the IT giant’s technology portfolio.
Catz and Hurd will keep on doing what they’ve been doing—in Catz’s case, handling Oracle’s finance, legal and manufacturing concerns, while Hurd deals with sales—only they’ll report to Oracle’s board instead of Ellison. But with Ellison still chairman of the board, how much leeway will they really have to remake Oracle in their collective image?
That answer will come in the months and years ahead. In the meantime, take a look back at some choice quotes from Larry Ellison, one of the most outspoken technology CEOs to ever deliver a keynote.
“The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?
“When I started Oracle, what I wanted to do was to create an environment where I would enjoy working. That was my primary goal. Sure, I wanted to make a living. I certainly never expected to become rich, certainly not this rich. I mean, rich does not even describe this. This is surreal. And it has nothing to do with money. I mean, you buy clothes with money, and cars. But I really wanted to work with people I enjoyed working with, who I admired and liked.”
“We used to have a rule at Oracle to never hire anybody you wouldn’t enjoy having lunch with three times a week. Actually, we are getting back to some of our original ideals these days.
“Because what we wanted to do was create an environment where not only were the people talented–and I think that is very important, so I can rely on your competence and your industry to do your part of the job, so we can work together as a team, so I can trust you. You will do what you say you are going to do–but also I like you personally. So when you succeed, that will not annoy the hell out of me. In fact, because I have so much affection for you, when you succeed, I will say, “You know, isn’t that great. Look what Bob did. Isn’t that fabulous.” I’ll get as much joy—or almost as much joy—out of your achievements as my own.”
“When SAP, and, specifically Hasso Plattner, said they’re going to build this in-memory database and compete with Oracle, I said. God, get me the name of that pharmacist, they must be on drugs.”
“To model yourself after Steve Jobs is like, ‘I’d like to paint like Picasso, what should I do? Should I use more red?’”
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