Oracle's Ellison Cedes Chairman Chores

Shuffling managerial duties, the database outfit elects CFO Jeff Henley board chairman and promotes two executives to president.

Oracle's board of directors rejiggered the responsibilities of its executive lineup, giving CFO Jeff Henley the role of board chairman, a title CEO Larry Ellison had held since 1995.

Ellison will remain CEO, according to a company statement. Henley, Oracle's CFO for 13 years, will take over his duties as board chairman but will remain CFO until a replacement is found.

Ellison described the reasons for the move in the statement, noting that Henley's mastery of corporate governance and accounting "ideally qualify him to be our new chairman."

"The Oracle Board of Directors believes these changes will enable the company's deep management talent to better serve customers, run the company with excellence and integrity and complement its good corporate governance," said Dr. Michael Boskin, chairman of the Nomination and Governance Committee and of the Committee on Compensation and Management Development of the Oracle board.

The tighter focus on operations and corporate governance in the high-tech sector comes with the heightened awareness of such regulations as Sarbanes-Oxley, which demand that records be retained for certain periods of time.

But it also comes as Oracle awaits word from the European Commission and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) about whether its $7.5 billion unsolicited bid for applications rival PeopleSoft will be approved. Both groups are expected to issue decisions in March after lengthy investigations.

Additionally, executive vice presidents Safra Catz and Charles Phillips have each been promoted to president as rewards for their work for the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based database software and enterprise application concern.

They will both report to Ellison, who had been performing the duties of president since former Oracle President Ray Lane left in 2000.

Catz will continue to be in charge of global operations. Phillips will run the company's sales, marketing and consulting operations.

Ellison credited Catz regularly succeeded in implementing the operational changes that led to the record profit margins Oracle now enjoys. The outspoken CEO commended Phillips for his knack for educating customers about technology to customers.






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