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Hurd in, Phillips out at Oracle

A month after his ouster as Hewlett-Packard CEO, Mark Hurd has a new job–president of Oracle. Rather co-president of Oracle with Safra Catz.

Charles Phillips who had been co-president with Catz resigned. Oracle sent the news of Hurd’s hire, then Phillips resignation, in two brief news releases Monday night. Phillips also resigned from Oracle’s board and Hurd will join the board.

In a statement, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said that Phillips had approached him about leaving the company last December, but was asked to stay on through the integration of Sun Microsystems.

 Ellison said:

“Charles has evolved our field culture toward a more customer-centric organization and improved our top line consistency through a period of tremendous change and growth… We will miss his talent and leadership and I respect his decision.”


Phillips’ exit makes room for Hurd. When reports surfaced last week that Hurd was talking to Oracle, the obvious question was what job they could possibly talk about. No one expects Ellison to step down as CEO any time soon and Oracle already had two very high-profile co-presidents in Catz and Phillips. Both of those execs, however, come with finance backgrounds–Catz was formerly with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette while Phillips was a high-profile analyst with Morgan Stanley. Clearly both were suited to handling mergers and acquisitions.

Hurd, on the other hand, is a  hardware guy having spent more than two decades at NCR before assuming the helm at HP. If there has been a common refrain since Oracle completed its Sun buyout earlier this year, it was that Oracle doesn’t “get” hardware. Hurd could help with that perception.

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This post was updated Tuesday morning with more background.

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