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Larry Ellison steps down as Oracle CEO

Oracle's fiery frontman becomes CTO as Mark Hurd and Safra Catz become co-CEOs. Meanwhile, Oracle delivers another shaky quarter.

Larry Ellison sees dark future for Job-less apple
Larry Ellison has stepped down as Oracle's CEO. Screenshot from CBS News video

Oracle's sometimes bombastic frontman, CEO Larry Ellison, is stepping down from leading the company and handing off to now co-CEOs Mark Hurd and Safra Catz.

Ellison will become chief technology officer and executive chairman of the board. Jeff Henley, Oracle's chairman for the last decade will be vice chairman of the board.

For the most part, Catz and Hurd were running the company. Catz oversaw manufacturing, finance and legal and still will. Hurd, responsible for sales, service and verticals, will have the same role. Software and hardware engineering will fall under Ellison.

Ellison said: "The three of us have been working well together for the last several years, and we plan to continue working together for the foreseeable future. Keeping this management team in place has always been a top priority of mine."

Some analysts would disagree with the working well, given Oracle's recent quarterly misses. Oracle's first quarter results reported Thursday were also shaky.

Oracle reported fiscal first quarter earnings of $2.2 billion, or 48 cents a share, on revenue of $8.6 billion, up 3 percent from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings were 62 cents a share.

Wall Street was looking for first quarter earnings of 64 cents a share on a non-GAAP basis on revenue of $8.77 billion.

For Oracle, the first quarter miss was another data point that the company is having trouble pivoting to a cloud model.

Despite the miss -- Oracle has missed earnings estimates five out of the last seven quarters---the company touted cloud gains and Fusion. The big question is whether analysts will give Oracle a pass as they wait for the Database 12c upgrade cycle to kick in. The first quarter was viewed as a slow one as new products take root. Ellison also said that OpenWorld will feature the launch of Oracle's database-as-a-service offering.

"Database is our largest software business, and database will be our largest cloud service," said Ellison.

A few first quarter data points:

  • Software and cloud revenue was up 6 percent to $6.6 billion.
  • Software- and platform-as-a-service revenue was up 32 percent to $337 million. Infrastructure-as-a-service revenue was up 26 percent to $138 million.
  • Hardware system sales fell 8 percent to $1.2 billion.
  • Catz said that the total cloud business for Oracle had revenue of $475 million in the quarter, up 30 percent. Catz also said that the fiscal year was off to "a good start."
  • Hurd talked up Fusion and talked down Workday as he noted that Oracle's cloud business is "three times the size."

In a change from previous quarters, Oracle didn't chest thump about hardware. Oracle execs had talked up engineered system sales even when revenue was whacked from a year ago. Oracle had said previously that the hardware business would return to growth.

This story was first published as "Oracle's Ellison steps down as CEO as Hurd, Catz take over," on ZDNet.