Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) is down more than 2% in after hours trading following the announcement that co-founder and CEO Larry Ellison has stepped down. Ellison, who recently turned 70, plans to continue working full-time as chief technology officer and chairman of the board while Oracle executives Safra Catz and Mark Hurd will be co-CEOs and Jeff Henley, who has been chairman of the board for the last decade, will now be vice chairman.
“Safra and Mark will now report to the Oracle Board rather than to me,” said Ellison. “All the other reporting relationships will remain unchanged. The three of us have been working well together for the last several years, and we plan to continue working together for the foreseeable future. Keeping this management team in place has always been a top priority of mine.”
Oracle’s management team is still in place, though roles have shifted
Under the new arrangement, software and engineering functions will continue reporting to Ellison as they had in the past but all manufacturing, finance, and legal functions will report to Catz and sales, service, and vertical industry global business units will report to Hurd. So even though the recognizable face of Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) is no longer its CEO, the entire management team is still in place, but with duties reorganized and Ellison taking a smaller role. Considering his age, some analysts have wondered when he would announce his succession plans, and this seems to be as gradual a transition as anyone could hope for.
Oracle stock dips following announcement
But that’s not how the market took the news, at least not at first. After a decent day of trading left Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) stock up 1%, it has now slid 2% in after hours trading even though Oracle was careful to make the announcement alongside some good news about SaaS and PaaS revenues. That’s back up from a 4% drop immediately after the press release came out, and there could even be a full rebound as investors realize that the shuffling leaves Oracle’s new CEOs in a position to reach out to their former boss for advice if necessary.
Eventually Ellison will take a bigger step back from Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL), but that was always inevitable. Now investors have to decide if they believe he has put together an organization that can continue to deliver even when he’s no longer signing off on every major decision.