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Oracle falls as another executive departs

Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) shed 14 percent Monday after the company lost executive vice president Gary L. Bloom.

Shares of Oracle fell on news of the 14-year Oracle veteran's departure for Veritas (Nasdaq: VRTS), where he will serve as CEO. Oracle shares got a boost recently after news of an alliance with Citigroup.

Bloom's departure marks Oracle's second loss of a senior executive this year. Ray Lane, former Oracle chief operating officer, left the company in July as his duties were reduced by founder and CEO Larry Ellison.

Bloom is one of three executives who assumed the duties of Lane. Bloom was also seen as a potential successor to Ellison.

Analysts had mixed reactions: UBS Warburg downgraded the stock from "buy" to "hold," and Edward M. Kerschner, chief global strategist of UBS Warburg and PaineWebber Incorporated, deleted Oracle Systems from the Highlighted Stocks list.

Analyst George Chandler at Frost Securities Inc reiterated a "buy", but cut his target price to $55 from $63 per share. Analyst James M. Pickrel at Chase H&Q also reiterated a "buy" rating on the stock.

Bloom controlled Oracle's core database business and led the execution of its Internet and e-business vision. Bloom also led Oracle's worldwide marketing, support, education and alliance organizations, and was responsible for mergers and acquisitions, global information technology and the Oracle Venture Fund.

In addition, Bloom served as the executive responsible for Oracle Business Online, OracleMobile.com, and Oracle e-Travel where he was chairman of the board.