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Oracle CEO steps down

Oracle founder Larry Ellison resigns after 37 years as CEO.

There has been a dramatic shift in Oracle’s direction over the last few years. Oracle, the software powerhouse providing technology for many mid to enterprise level businesses as well as to banks and governments, had been slow to fully embrace cloud technology. Heavily reliant on on-premise licensing Oracle has often been associated with being a big player for over 30 years.

But things have changed. Oracle’s claim in 2012 that they didn’t “get the cloud” was considered as baffling to many. The subsequent move into public IaaS was seen as a strange, especially considering the nature of their business and fierce competition from AWS. Many in the industry felt their offering was not a true, public IaaS but rather private builds embedded in Oracle software stacks. This gave the impression of a division between marketing and technology inside the organisation.

Larry Ellison, 70, co-founded what would become Oracle with Bob Miner and Ed Oates in 1977. After 37 years of steering the company he is to step down. This could be the Oracle’s moment of change, and it’s biggest yet.

In a statement issued by the Oracle board, president Michael Boskin said, “Larry has made it very clear that he wants to keep working full time and focus his energy on product engineering, technology development and strategy.”

As the software layer becomes an increasingly important battleground in the cloud marketplace Oracle needs to adapt quickly. There’s a certain “new blood” to this announcement given it comes at a time when Oracle need to fully embrace cloud to avoid further erosion of their market share.

Mark Hurd and Safra Catz have been named as successors, and become co-chief executives. Ellison will become CTO of Oracle Software.

It is speculated that Ellison will make embracing the cloud a priority, redefining Oracle as a champion of the cloud. Hours after the announcement Oracle shares fell 2.5% with disappointing share results reported for some time now.

Is Oracle’s cloud strategy working? Do they need a dramatic change? As always we welcome your comments.