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Oracle CFO Maffei to step down

Greg Maffei is resigning after just a four-month tenure with the company. The finance job passes to co-President Safra Catz.

Greg Maffei is resigning as chief financial officer of Oracle, ending a brief tenure with the company.

The company plans to appoint Safra Catz, an Oracle president, to the CFO post and will seek no other replacement, an Oracle representative said.

Maffei, who is also a co-president at the business software maker, is leaving to accept a position at another company, Oracle said Thursday. His resignation takes effect Nov. 15.

"Oracle is a great franchise and its results are what drives the company, not whether I, or Safra, or Jeff Henley are CFO," said Maffei in an interview Thursday night.

Nonetheless he added: "Safra is incredibly bright and has a lot of formal experience and will make a fine CFO."

Gregory Maffei
Greg Maffei

Yet Maffei's brief stint at Oracle was not all smooth sailing, according to one analyst, who requested anonymity. Maffei and Catz, a six-year Oracle veteran and company board member, were very competitive and had clashed heavily, the analyst said.

News that Catz, who is responsible for global operations, will become CFO is a concern, the analyst added. "How many hats can a CFO wear?" the analyst said.

Maffei, however, said he is not surprised by the speculation that his departure is due to a personality clash with Catz or any other Oracle executive.

"When a new company is not named (where an executive will be joining), it leads to speculation of personality clashes," Maffei said, adding, "I was presented with an interesting opportunity that fits better with my long-term aspirations."

Maffei, who joined Oracle in late June, is the second CFO to leave the company after serving for less than a year. Harry You, who preceded Maffei, was the software maker's CFO for nine months, before leaving in March to accept a post at BearingPoint as its chief executive.

Oracle did not disclose Maffei's new position or which company he will be joining. The company is not in the software industry, Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Lilienthal said.

"Greg has told us he's looking at a terrific professional opportunity," Larry Ellison, Oracle's CEO, said in a statement. "We wish him well."

Lilienthal said Maffei will not receive a severance package, indicating that his resignation was voluntary.

Over the past few weeks, Maffei has been missing in action, leading to the cancellation of the company's analyst day last month and a no-show at a Goldman Sachs Software Conference.

In a research note earlier Thursday, Goldman Sachs analyst Richard Sherlund questioned Maffei's status. "Last night, Oracle co-President Charles Phillips at an investor conference made no reference to Mr. Maffei when talking about how the company is managed, referring to himself, Safra Catz and Larry Ellison," Sherlund said in his note.