Oracle Ousts Its Own Execs

Updated: The company has quietly replaced two top executives as it moves forward with integrating PeopleSoft.

In the midst of swapping out executives at recently acquired PeopleSoft Inc., Oracle Corp. is also making some internal adjustments. The company quietly replaced two top executives last week, including Ron Wohl, executive vice president of application development, according to sources close to the company. Michael Rocha, executive vice president for global support services is also being replaced.

John Wookey, senior vice president for application development, is believed to be Wohls successor, the sources said.

An Oracle spokesperson said that Wohl is still employed with Oracle and that any changes in executive roles will be announced on Jan. 26, at Oracles analyst day event in New York City, where Oracle plans to discuss PeopleSoft integration plans.

Rocha, on the other hand, is said to be leaving Oracle. He will be replaced by Juergen Rottler, executive vice president for Oracles On Demand business. Rottler is a recent addition at Oracle. He moved over from Hewlett-Packard Co. in September, where he held the position of senior vice president of HPs Public Sector, Health and Education business.

Both Wohl and Rocha head up divisions crucial to Oracle as it moves forward with integrating PeopleSoft, a company it acquired under unfriendly terms.

Wohl, who began his career at Oracle nearly 20 years ago, was responsible for the development of Oracles E-Business Suite, including applications for manufacturing, financials, distribution and human resources, among other areas. Moving forward, he would also have been responsible for integrating PeopleSofts software into Oracle. While Oracle said it will support the next versions of PeopleSofts software, Enterprise 9 and EnterpriseOne 6, the company also plans to deliver a combined super suite that will be comprised of its E-Business Suite and elements of PeopleSofts suites.

/zimages/4/28571.gifPeopleSoft customers say theyre relieved that the long buyout battle is finally over. Click here to read more.

With Oracle looking to eventually merge its E-Business Suite with functionality from PeopleSofts products—and maintain PeopleSofts profitable upgrade and maintenance revenue stream—the executive shifts bode well for the company, according to industry analysts.

"[The] Oracle applications [business] has had a rather tumultuous history and has not been as consistently successful as it could have been," said Joshua Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting, in Berkeley, Calif. "This is a good opportunity for Oracle to play a Machiavellian card and lop off the head of the guy whos been running [applications] for so long and bring in a change. [Merging with PeopleSoft] is a massive integration and oversight effort that goes well beyond Oracle. The job requires someone with not just an insular view of the world."

Even with the current executive shifts, the bloodletting is not over at Oracle, according to sources, who have dubbed this the "month of sharp knives" at the company. Given the enormity of the task in integrating the worlds second- and third-largest applications businesses, time is of the essence.

"The next step for Oracle is really trying to efficiently integrate the products and the teams, and doing that in a way that will not alienate customers and remaining employees," said Don More, an analyst at Updata Capital Inc., in Red Bank, N.J.

After an acrimonious 18-month takeover battle, Oracle finally acquired PeopleSoft last week when 75 percent of its shareholders tendered their shares. Oracle expects to complete the acquisition this week, with at least 90 percent of PeopleSoft shares tendered at $26.50 per share, for a total buyout cost of $10.3 billion.

Earlier this week Oracle ousted PeopleSoft Chief Financial Officer Kevin Parker and President Phil Wilmington. Oracle co-presidents Charles Phillips and Safra Catz have been named as co-presidents of PeopleSoft, while Harry You, Oracles CFO, fills Parkers position.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include comments from industry analysts.

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