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Oracle snags former White House press secretary

Joe Lockhart, former assistant to President Clinton, joins the database software giant's senior management team and will be in charge of communications at the company.

Former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart has joined Oracle's senior management team and will be in charge of communications at the company, the database software giant said Tuesday.

Lockhart, who will report directly to chief executive Larry Ellison, will initially focus on refining and communicating Oracle's business strategy, the company said. The former assistant to President Clinton begins his new position at Oracle on Tuesday.

He said he will split his time between Washington, D.C., where he lives with his wife and daughter, and Oracle's home base in Silicon Valley.

Lockhart isn't the only ex-White House public relations figure to leap into the high-tech arena recently.

Just two weeks ago, Mike McCurry, who preceded Lockhart as press secretary for Clinton, snagged the chief executive spot at Internet company Grassroots.com, a political services Web site.

Before joining the White House in 1997, Lockhart was national press secretary for the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign. He has served as a prominent press relations figure on a string of political campaigns including the 1988 Dukakis-Bentsen presidential campaign, the Mondale-Ferraro campaign and the 1980 Carter-Mondale campaign.

In recent months, Oracle has lost two high-level executives, including former president Ray Lane and Gary Bloom, a longtime Oracle executive who ran the company's core database business and led its Internet and e-business efforts.

Shares of Oracle tumbled at the time of Bloom's departure. Bloom, who was widely believed to be a possible successor to Ellison, left Oracle to become president and chief executive officer of business software provider Veritas Software.