April 25, 2011
Oracle announced after the close of trading on Monday that CFO Jeff Epstein has resigned and will be replaced by Oracle President Safra Catz, who will also continue in her role as company president.
Epstein formerly reported to Catz, who was CFO of the company from 2005 to 2008. Catz also has carried the title of president since 2004. The announcement of the move included the statement: "Ms. Catz's appointment is permanent and is effective immediately." Epstein has been CFO since August 2008, when he took over the job from Catz. When asked for comment on Epstein’s next move, an Oracle corporate spokesperson emailed in reply, "Sorry, we decline additional comment." "Safra already has the long-standing confidence of our employees, our board, and our shareholders," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in the announcement, which was issued by the company at 1:27 p.m. Pacific. "There is no more logical choice for CFO." "The CFO function has reported to Safra for a number of years and she's acted as Oracle's CFO in the past. She has the full support of the board," said Jeff Henley, chairman of the board of directors, in the announcement. "On behalf of the board, I'd also like to thank Jeff Epstein for his many contributions to the company during the past few years and wish him all the best for the future." Catz joined Oracle in 1999. She previously served as co-president with Charles Phillips, who resigned in September and was replaced by HP's former CEO, Mark Hurd, who remains as co-president. At events like Oracle OpenWorld, Catz frequently appears on stage with other Oracle executives with a confident, fluid manner, exchanging personal comments with speakers and introducing new speakers to the stage. At the Wells Fargo Technology Transformation Summit earlier this month, Catz said that Oracle's acquisition of Sun had yielded a "treasure hunt" for valuable technologies. But she drew a distinction between Oracle's management style and the one that used to rule at least part of the Sun heirarchy. "Blathering on is not Oracle," she said, a clear reference to former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, who was frequently cited as the first CEO to adopt public blogging. "Blogging is not a full-time job at Oracle," she added. In the Oracle vs. SAP trial last November over whether SAP's TomorrowNow unit was infringing on Oracle's copyright, Catz rebutted SAP arguments that TomorrowNow's download of Oracle software and documentation shouldn't carry a high penalty. That, she said, "is like someone taking your $2,000 watch, hocking it for $20 and now they want to pay you $20."
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