Oracle CFO Catz Tapped as Co-CEO

Safra Catz will share chief-executive duties with Mark Hurd, but still focus on manufacturing, finance and legal operations.
Matthew HellerSeptember 19, 2014

Oracle Corp. CFO Safra Catz was recently named the highest-paid woman executive. Now she’s one of two executives who will take over from Larry Ellison in Oracle’s top job.

Oracle's new co-CEO, Safra Catz.

Oracle’s new co-CEO, Safra Catz. Safra Catz, CFO and president, Oracle

The technology giant announced Thursday that Ellison, co-founder and leader of Oracle for 37 years, is giving up the role of CEO and returning to being chairman. Co-presidents Catz and Hurd have been promoted to co-CEOs.

The two executives’ division of labor will remain the same, with Catz, 52, overseeing manufacturing, finance and legal operations and Hurd, 57, in charge of all sales, service and vertical industry global business units. Ellison, 70, will continue to run technology.

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“I don’t think honestly it’s a big change. The divisions of labor are pretty clear,” UBS Securities analyst Brent Thill told USA Today. “Mark Hurd has done a good job running sales and marketing. Safra Catz has focused on internal operations and everyday activities. And Larry has always been the technology guy.”

Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets, was less sanguine about the move.

“While there was some speculation Larry could step down, the timing is a bit of a head scratcher and the Street will have many questions,” he told Reuters. “Investors have a mixed view of Safra and especially Hurd as co-CEOs, given the missteps we have seen from the company over the past few years.”

“In almost all cases, these co-CEO configurations are a jerry-rigged solution to a political problem,” warned Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at Yale School of Management.

Oracle shares fell 2% to $40.70 in after-hours trading Thursday after it reported the management shake-up and that quarterly earnings had fallen below Wall Street’s average forecast. The stock was down another 4% at $39.70 in trading Friday.

Catz, a former investment banker trained in finance and law, joined Oracle in 1999, first serving as CFO from November 2005 to September 2008 and then returning to that position in April 2011. She proved her mettle with such deals as Oracle’s $10.6 billion takeover of PeopleSoft in 2005.

According to research firm FindTheBest’s rankings, she earned $44.3 million in compensation last year — about the same as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. A year ago, she rejected her $717,000 bonus over Oracle’s poor financial performance.

Source: USA Today Meet the new co-CEOs of Oracle

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