Cloud // Cloud Storage
Commentary
9/7/2010
08:49 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Global CIO: In Hurd's Wake, An Ugly Ending For Oracle's Charles Phillips

Larry Ellison's farewell rationale for Phillips' awkward departure just doesn't add up. And I think Mark Hurd better watch his back.

Larry Ellison says long-time and now former Oracle president Charles Phillips told Ellison 10 months ago that he wanted to leave the company. Ellison further says he asked Phillips to stay through the Sun acquisition, and Phillips agreed.

In that context, Phillips got what he wanted while also helping Oracle manage through one of its most transformative acquisitions, and doing so in a manner consistent with his 7 years (or "29 quarters," as he put it in his brief farewell statement) at the company.

I'd like to believe that. But it smacks of too many coincidences. And in matters of this sort, I don't believe in coincidence. Like most people, I do believe in facts—and here are a few to consider:

FACT: Early this year, Oracle's other president, Safra Catz, indicated in public comments that the Sun integration was zipping along, aided by the 9 months of limbo Oracle endured while the European Union dragged out its approval of the Oracle-Sun merger.

By Oracle's own statements, the heavy-lifting portion of the Sun integration was completed months ago. So why didn't Phillips—who asked to leave in December 2009, according to Ellison—take off sooner?

FACT: Just seven weeks ago, Phillips endured a stunningly public rebuke from Oracle over his comments, made at an industry event, relating to an M&A war chest he said Oracle had assembled for the next five years.

Global CIO
Global CIOs: A Site Just For You
Visit InformationWeek's Global CIO -- our new online community and information resource for CIOs operating in the global economy.

Not only was the company's clarification of Phillips' remarks condescending and starkly personal, but it was attributed to the head of Oracle PR, who at the time reported up through Phillips in the organization. I believe the remarks came from Ellison himself, and that he was so miffed that Phillips either (a) was just plain wrong on a very sensitive matter, or (b) made an accurate statement but wasn't supposed to talk about it publicly, that Ellison wouldn't even deign to connect his name to the public tongue-lashing of Phillips.

Here's part of the comment, which is unlike any I've seen regarding a sitting executive from his employer:

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Google in the Enterprise Survey
Google in the Enterprise Survey
There's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ­products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ­mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ­distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A UBM Tech Radio episode on the changing economics of Flash storage used in data tiering -- sponsored by Dell.
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.