Larry Ellison steps down as Oracle chief executive

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison with Nikita Kahn in the Royal Box on the Centre Court at Wimbledon on July 6, 2014. Ellison on Thursday stepped down as chief executive of Oracle, the successful technology company he co-founded in 1977. -- PHOTO: AFP
Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison with Nikita Kahn in the Royal Box on the Centre Court at Wimbledon on July 6, 2014. Ellison on Thursday stepped down as chief executive of Oracle, the successful technology company he co-founded in 1977. -- PHOTO: AFP

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Larry Ellison on Thursday stepped down as chief executive of Oracle, handing off the helm of the successful technology company he co-founded in 1977, the company announced.

Ellison, who recently turned 70 years old, will be replaced as CEO by in-house executives Safra Catz and Mark Hurd. Ellison will continue to have a hand in the California company’s operations as chief technology officer and executive chairman of the board.

Catz and Hurd had previously reported to Ellison, and now they will report directly to the board.

“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,” Ellison said in a release.

“Keeping this management team in place has always been a top priority of mine.”

Ellison built Redwood City, California-base Oracle into a money-making colossus specialising in software, services, and hardware to meet computing needs of business operations.

He became one of the world’s wealthiest individuals through the company.

Forbes magazine estimates his net worth at US$51.3 billion (S$65 billion), making him the fifth richest person in the world.

“Larry has made it very clear that he wants to keep working full time and focus his energy on product engineering, technology development and strategy,” Oracle board presiding director Michael Boskin said in a release.

“Safra and Mark are exceptional executives who have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to lead, manage and grow the company.”

Oracle hired Hurd about four years ago after he resigned as chief executive at computer maker Hewlett-Packard due to scandal regarding his relationship with a former marketing contractor.

Ellison publicly skewered HP for losing Hurd and quickly signed him onto Oracle’s executive crew.

“The directors are thrilled that the best senior executive team in the industry will continue to move the company forward into a bright future,” Boskin of the Oracle board said.