Larry Ellison lived the rags-to-riches story. Now, he’ll take the money and run — or will he?
Ellison’s story starts from the most humble beginnings. According to Business Insider, Ellison was born on August 17, 1944 in the lower east side of New York City. Soon after, Ellison contracted pneumonia as a baby. Though he barely survived, it was still too much for his single mother. He was sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Chicago. There his childhood stabilized a bit, allowing him to get through high school.
He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, only to drop out after two years. He spent his summer in northern California, then transferred to the University of Chicago, studying computer design. He would only last for one semester, after which drove to California at the age of 22.
He purchased a turquoise Thunderbird for the trip, and to help impress his new California friends. Once there, he worked a few odd jobs before landing with Ampex industries. One of his main responsibilities was to create a database for the CIA, which he called “Oracle.”
In 1977, he and two Ampex coworkers — Ed Oates and Bob Miner — founded a database management company they called Software Development Laboratories. They changed the name to Relational Software in 1979, and in 1982, it became Oracle.
SF Gate is reporting that an industry shift is a major reason Ellison is moving on. Though he will still oversee everything for Oracle, he will let some new blood infuse the company. Ellison oversaw Oracle’s domination in the age of microchips, personal computers, and servers, as well as mobile apps, social media, and search engines. He will, however, keep an eye on things.
“You can give him titles or take away titles, but Larry will have a profound influence on that company for a while to come,” said Mike Wilson, author of The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison (God Doesn’t Think He’s Larry Ellison). “I doubt there’s a founder with more power than Larry has managed to retain.”
Some have speculated that the move is essentially financial. Though Oracle itself has been in decline recently, Ellison made a lot of money. Though his base salary is one dollar a year, he had accumulated enough stock that, when cashed in, garnered him over $153 million. This did not sit well with Oracle’s board of directors.
Ron Enderle of the Enderle Group feels this is a move to placate Oracle’s board of directors. “He is the highest-paid person in the valley,” Enderle said. “The big investor groups were having a cow over how much he was making and how poorly Oracle was doing.”
As executive chairman, Ellison retains more power than ordinary board chairs, Enderle said. “I would argue he’s still hanging in there and not going anywhere; he just changed his title.”
[Image courtesy of Business Insider]