PeopleSoft Inc. founder David Duffield, who replaced fired CEO Craig Conway in October, quietly resigned effective Dec. 21, less than two weeks before Oracle Corp. is scheduled to close its buyout of its software-industry rival. Oracle declared on Wednesday that it had received offers of more than enough shares to take control of PeopleSoft.
Duffields resignation was confirmed in a routine filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission noting that he had relinquished the positions of PeopleSoft director, board chairman and CEO.
A PeopleSoft spokesman declined to comment Tuesday on Duffields resignation.
Oracle can rapidly carry out the merger transition now that it has received offers for more than 75 percent of PeopleSofts outstanding shares and designated four new directors to sit on PeopleSofts board of directors. Earlier this month, Oracle co-president Charles Phillips said his company would likely officially take possession of PeopleSoft by Dec. 30.
PeopleSofts board named Duffield as CEO on Oct. 1, after it decided to fire Conway upon determining that Conway had made deceptive statements when he told Wall Street analysts that Oracles hostile buyout offer wasnt affecting his companys sales and revenue.
Duffield had led PeopleSoft as CEO for 12 years before he handed the reins to Conway in 1999. Analysts speculated that his return would clear the way for PeopleSoft to negotiate an amicable purchase agreement, as Oracle had repeatedly called for.
Duffield denied that his return signaled an imminent capitulation. "Some people have speculated that Im here to sell the company to Oracle. Others are guessing Im here to block a sale. Both are wrong," Duffield said Oct. 21 during the companys quarterly earnings report.
"Im here to make sure our company achieves its full potential—something that absolutely enhances value to our shareholders," Duffield said.
However, it would take nearly two more months of legal maneuvering before PeopleSoft signaled it was ready to discuss a definitive buyout agreement with Oracle after resisting its overtures for a year and a half. In November, Oracle induced the holders of more than 60 percent of the outstanding PeopleSoft shares to accept what it called its "best and final" offer of $24 per share.
In early December, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison publicly committed to introducing the next versions of PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards ERP (enterprise resource planning) software applications.
A week after voicing this commitment, an envoy for PeopleSoft contacted Oracle and indicated that the company would accept a bid of $26.50. The two companies announced a buyout agreement Dec. 13.
Editors Note: This story was updated to include additional information from Oracle.