Its Confirmed: Wookey Out at Oracle

Oracle's executive shuffling leaves many questions regarding the future of the company's Fusion platform.

As has been rumored for days, Oracle is replacing the leadership of its application development platform.

Rumblings Oct. 12 that John Wookey, the companys head of application development for Fusion Applications—the project much vaunted at Oracle—is out, have been confirmed in media reports. Thomas Kurian, senior vice president responsible for Oracles Fusion Middleware, will take his place.

The executive shuffling of the deck around Fusion leads to some big questions around Oracles Fusion Applications plans, including whether Fusion Applications will be delayed beyond 2008, and whether Oracle is experiencing development problems in trying to bring together "the best of" functionality from at least four major suites of applications: Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel Systems.

The analyst community has long been split on Oracles momentum with Fusion Applications.

ZDNet blogger Dennis Howlett, who runs the Enterprise Irregular community, sourced an internal letter from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison on his blog that detailed the companys moves. The Wall Street Journal later confirmed the departures, quoting sources close to the company.


Click here to read more about Oracles bid for BEA.

Oracle officials were not available for comment at press time.

As it stands, Wookey, senior vice president of applications development, is leaving Oracle. Sources close to the company suggested the week of Oct. 8 that Wookey, in a heated argument with Ellison, had already left the company and Oracle was trying to woo him back, though the circumstances around Wookeys departure have not been confirmed.

Fusion Middleware is the underlying platform for Fusion Applications.

The changes come just days after Oracle announced Oct. 12 its intent to acquire BEA Systems for $6.6 billion. BEA, which develops middleware, rebuffed Oracles overtures, saying the offer undervalued the company. Oracle responded that it would not raise its offer price, despite analyst speculation that it would. The deal, as of Oct. 16, is in limbo, though likely not by any means dead.

The deal for BEA, of San Jose, Calif., led to more questions surrounding Oracles plans with Fusion—both its middleware platform and applications stack.

As part of the changes with Wookeys departure, Ed Abbo, who had reported to Wookey, will now head application development outside of Fusion—in other words, the continuing development of applications that Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., has acquired, including PeopleSoft and JD Edwards. Through its Applications Unlimited program, Oracle vowed to support those applications forever.

Both Kurian and Abbo will report to Chuck Rozwat, executive vice president at Oracle who will take over responsibility for all product development, according to media reports.

The rumors of Wookeys departure came amidst claims that Oracle would announce at its annual OpenWorld conference in November that Fusion Applications would be delayed through 2009. When Oracle acquired PeopleSoft in 2005, it announced Fusion Applications would be ready sometime in 2008. In January 2006, Oracle officials held a press conference to report that Wookeys teams were "halfway there" with Fusion Applications development.

When asked to comment on the rumors that Wookey was indeed leaving Oracle, Enterprise Applications Consulting principal Joshua Greenbaum (and Enterprise Irregulars blogger) said in an Oct. 12 interview that he would be "shocked" if Wookey were indeed leaving Oracle.

"If I was Oracle and I thought things were in trouble regarding a 2008 release of Fusion, I wouldnt throw in the towel now and act as if it couldnt happen. I would be throwing resources and people at it," said Greenbaum. "Its a little premature to throw in the towel" on Fusion Applications.


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