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Commentary: Oracle will weather Lane's departure

Although president Ray Lane's departure is not a fatal blow to Oracle, it will cause a noticeable disruption in the senior management ranks.

    By Dan Miklovic, Gartner Analyst

    Although Ray Lane's departure is not a fatal blow to Oracle, it will cause a noticeable disruption in the company's senior management ranks.

    Lane was a stabilizing force who counterbalanced Oracle chairman Larry Ellison's visionary leadership with solid operational management skills. Although the company has said he will remain on the board of directors, Lane left his post as president and chief operating officer without an obvious successor.

    The effect of his absence,

    See news story:
    Oracle shares sink after No. 2 exec resigns
    to a great extent, will depend on two factors: who replaces him in the position, and who follows him out of the organization. Lane and Ellison worked closely and well together, and his replacement will have to have, or develop quickly, a similar relationship with Oracle's mercurial chairman.

    Lane brought great stability and a wide network of close relationships within the industry to Oracle, and his absence will certainly affect the company's operations in the short term. He was highly respected by the financial community, and Wall Street's reaction to his departure reflects anxiety that the day-to-day activities of the company might be neglected while Ellison fills in for him, as Ellison is not known as a detail-oriented manager.

    Oracle customers should not worry about their relationship with the company. Yet while senior management rebuilds its ranks, customers might experience some bumps and rattles in their day-to-day dealings with the company. However, Oracle is not likely to make any major changes of strategic direction during the transition period, and prices and products should remain stable.

    Any evidence of Lane's absence will be seen in the operational details of the business, and disruptions will likely be short-lived and easily corrected unless Lane's departure triggers an exodus of other senior managers.

    Entire contents, Copyright © 2000 Gartner Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein represents Gartner's initial commentary and analysis and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Positions taken are subject to change as more information becomes available and further analysis is undertaken. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof.