Larry Ellison, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Oracle, has stepped down from his CEO duties. Ellison, 70, has been Oracle's first and only CEO since 1977, a position that's made him one of the wealthiest men in America and the entire world. His departure from that role is effective immediately, according to Oracle. Former HP chief Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, Ellison's most trusted executives, will now become the company's co-CEOs. They've already been handling most day-to-day leadership tasks for several years, according to Businessweek; Ellison largely focused his time on Oracle's overall strategy before agreeing to step aside today.
Ellison isn't leaving the company he built; he'll now serve as Oracle's executive chairman and chief technology officer. "Larry has made it very clear that he wants to keep working full time and focus his energy on product engineering, technology development and strategy," Dr. Michael Boskin, director of Oracle's board, said in a statement.
Throughout his career, Ellison has had a penchant for spending lavishly and making the most of Oracle's success and his massive salary, purchasing several mansions, golf courses, planes, sports cars, super-fast yachts, and the Hawaiian island of Lanai. It's been rumored he's the real-life inspiration behind Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark character. But Ellison's influence in the enterprise world cannot be overstated; the two-time college dropout created an empire that is now among the world's leading providers of business and database software. As The Wall Street Journal notes, before today he was also one of the last remaining founder/CEOs from Silicon Valley's early pioneering days.