Ellison & 7 Other Tech Lions Still Roaring - InformationWeek

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9/22/2014
11:40 AM
Doug Henschen
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Ellison & 7 Other Tech Lions Still Roaring

Larry Ellison's non-retirement reminds us of a few other tech industry elder statesmen still in the thick of running their companies.

have repeatedly placed SAS at or near the top of Fortune magazine's "Best Places to Work." Goodnight, whose net worth is estimated at $7.3 billion, has been equally generous with elementary and secondary schools, backing his keen interest in improving the state of education with big bucks.

Sandy Kurtzig, CEO, Kenandy. Kurtzig, 65, is in her second stint as a tech industry entrepreneur. At the age of 23 she founded ASK Group in 1972, using $2,000 of her own savings. It eventually became a $450-million-annual-revenue public company. ASK developed Manman, a manufacturing resource planning suite that was among the precursors of today's ERP packages. Kurtzig resigned from ASK back in 1985, but in 2010 she came out of retirement to found Kenandy, among the pioneers in bringing ERP into the cloud. Kenandy is built on the Force.com platform, and Salesforce Ventures is among the private company's investors, along with Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Hasso Plattner, Chairman, SAP. Chairman of SAP since 2003, Plattner, 70, co-founded the company in 1972. He has been nearly as active and involved in SAP decision-making as chairman as we expect Ellison to be as executive chairman of Oracle. Over the last decade, Plattner created and advanced the SAP Hana in-memory database, and he made it the centerpiece of SAP's technology strategy, with help from his long-time protégé, Vishal Sikka, who resigned from SAP's Executive Board in May. Plattner doesn't join earnings conference calls, as Ellison said last week he plans to continue to do, but employees and customers alike know Plattner holds sway over product and strategy decisions.

Tech industry leaders, from left, Sandy Kurtzig, Hasso Plattner, Mark Templeton, and Joseph Tucci.
Tech industry leaders, from left, Sandy Kurtzig, Hasso Plattner, Mark Templeton, and Joseph Tucci.

Mark Templeton, CEO, Citrix. At 61, Templeton is the youngest of these tech lions, but he has shaped Citrix for close to two decades. He joined Citrix in 1995 as vice president of marketing, and he rose to president in 1998 and chief executive officer in 2001. Along the way Citrix has grown from a $15-million-annual-revenue company to a $3 billion global powerhouse. Templeton continues to spearhead acquisitions and is leading the company's efforts to develop the software-defined network.

Joseph Tucci, Chairman, President, and CEO, EMC. Tucci, 66, joined EMC as COO in 2000 after a six-year stint as chairman and CEO of Wang Laboratories. He was elevated to president and CEO of EMC in 2001 and added the chairman role in 2006. Tucci has reduced EMC's dependence on low-margin hardware with diversification into software, spinning out VMWare and Pivotal along the way. EMC is under increasing pressure to acquire big (say, Dell) or be acquired (by, say, Cisco, HP, or Oracle). Increasing that pressure is the fact that Tucci has indicated he will step down by early next year and has yet to announce a successor.

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Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of ... View Full Bio
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D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
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9/22/2014 | 12:05:39 PM
Sounds like CISCO and EMC want traditional transitions
Given Chambers' and Tucci's statements, it sounds like those two are looking for the exits, but not so Ellison, Goodnight, Plattner, and Kurtzig, all of whom founded or co-founded their companies and have a lot invested, psychically and financially, in the futures of their firms. As the eldest of these elder statements, Duffield has curtailed his involvement, and Templeton, the youngest of the lot at 61, has years to go before retirement expectations will build.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
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9/22/2014 | 4:21:52 PM
Re: Sounds like CISCO and EMC want traditional transitions
I think Cisco could benefit from new leadership.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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9/22/2014 | 6:04:15 PM
These lion are roaring because...
Larry's slunk upstairs to the chairman's office. Joe Tucci's EMC was reportedly sounding out HP on a merger last week and Dell on acquiring parts of EMC's storage business. Its stock zoomed up Monday on the prospect that Meg Whitman, rather than Tucci, might be in charge. These lions are graying. They may also be roaring, but it's because somebody stole their lunch.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
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9/23/2014 | 9:24:09 AM
Re: These lion are roaring because...
Who would you say stole EMC's lunch? That's probably hard to answer given that it's a disparate collection of businesses. I'm guessing the company may be worth more broken up than purchased whole. High-end hardware to Dell (or maybe Lenovo) while the software goes to HP or a higher bidder? It's hard to figure how that one plays out. 
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
9/23/2014 | 12:42:30 PM
Re: These lion are roaring because...
Joseph Tucci brought the same business model, service(network) from Wang to EMC. EMC took most Wang's customers.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
9/23/2014 | 7:46:32 PM
One possible culprit: Pure Storage
One suspect of stealing EMC's lunch: Pure Storage. The SSD system suppliers are growing fast. EMC has its own product in the field, but some SSD startups are showing strength.
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