Larry Ellison gives up Oracle CEO role, becomes chairman

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison is ending his 37-year reign as CEO of the business software maker that he co-founded and is handing over the job to his two top lieutenants, Safra Catz and Mark Hurd.

As part of the changing-of-the-guard announced Thursday, Ellison will become Oracle Corp.'s chairman and chief technology officer. Jeff Henley, the company's chairman for the past decade, becomes vice chairman.

Ellison, 70, is likely to continue to play an influential role at Oracle, given his leadership position on the board and his stature as the company's largest individual shareholder.

The shake-up nevertheless opens a new phase in Oracle's history. The Redwood Shores, California, company is trying to adapt to the technological upheaval that is causing more of its corporate customers to lease software applications stored in remote data centers instead of paying licensing fees to install programs on machines kept in their own offices.

Before their promotions, Catz and Hurd were Oracle's co-presidents and had been working closely with Ellison for years. Catz is a former investment banker, while Hurd is best known as the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co.

Hurd stepped down from HP four years ago after that company's board raised questions about his expense report. Ellison ridiculed HP for its treatment of Hurd, a close friend, and hired him at Oracle.

Ellison, now one of the world's richest men, founded Oracle Corp. in 1977 with $1,200 of his own money. He was its chairman from May 1995 to January 2004.Bay Area NewsLarry EllisonOracleSafra Catz

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