Names on the Street

By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2004-01-13 Print this article Print

The choice of the two executives is also a departure of sorts for Oracle. Both Catz and Phillips are well-known on Wall Street, with Catz coming from the banking industry and Phillips a former Wall Street analyst. Neither has previous global operations management experience.
Catz and Phillips are also the two executives most vocal—and visible—in Oracles ongoing siege to buy enterprise applications rival PeopleSoft Inc. However, the naming of both will have little impact on the direction of the proposed $7.5 billion deal, according to analysts.
"We see it as having no impact on Oracles desire to acquire PeopleSoft," said Jeff Comport, an analyst with Gartner Group, in Stamford, Conn. "The architects of the deal remain in place, and all indications are that Oracles intentions remain unchanged. If you had seen something with Chuck [Phillips] being sidelined, it would indicate management thought there were issues, but youre seeing the opposite." The naming of Catz and Phillips will likely have a greater impact on the overall direction of the company as it looks to fend off competition from the likes of Microsoft Corp. and IBM, and deal with issues like how open source will affect business. At least that seems to be a determining factor in why the board would choose technology outsiders to run the company in lieu of long-term Oracle executives like Ron Wohl, according to Bruce Richardson, an analyst with AMR Research Inc., in Boston. "This could be the first company whose two presidents spent their formative years on Wall Street," said Richardson. "[It points to a] great faith in their ability to read the Street, read the market and be able to figure out the right thing." Catzs role as head of global operations will change in title only; she will remain in the position she has held for the past five years. She has been a board member since 2001. Phillips, on the other hand, will be in charge of field operations, a role that includes overseeing sales, marketing and consulting. This is a fast rise for Phillips, who was hired in May 2003 essentially to be the front man in Oracles very public bid to acquire PeopleSoft. Paul Dorsey, president of the New York Oracle Users Group, said he believes the Oracle executive shakeup will re-invigorate Ellison with tighter tactical development upon the giant software maker. "Ever since Ray Lane left, Ive been kind of wondering whos running the show," said Dorsey. Dorsey added that Oracle "is Larrys baby and I would suspect that this is what its about. Having these relatively inexperienced people he can direct, its pretty clear hes going to call the shots down to a more detailed level than weve seen for a while." Next page: Will Ellison still have the touch?

Brian Fonseca is a senior writer at eWEEK who covers database, data management and storage management software, as well as storage hardware. He works out of eWEEK's Woburn, Mass., office. Prior to joining eWEEK, Brian spent four years at InfoWorld as the publication's security reporter. He also covered services, and systems management. Before becoming an IT journalist, Brian worked as a beat reporter for The Herald News in Fall River, Mass., and cut his teeth in the news business as a sports and news producer for Channel 12-WPRI/Fox 64-WNAC in Providence, RI. Brian holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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