Oracle has a new customer relations front man: Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd. Oracle's move to name former Hurd as co-president is going to be interesting to watch from a customer relations perspective. Why? Hurd's arrival coincides with the departure of Charles Phillips.
Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he'll do even better at Oracle. There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark. Oracle's future is engineering complete and integrated hardware and software systems for the enterprise. Mark pioneered the integration of hardware with software when Teradata was a part of NCR.
For his part, Hurd said that "Oracle's strategy of combining software with hardware will enable Oracle to beat IBM in both enterprise servers and storage." Hurd neglected to mention HP, but he might as well have. Hurd even teased some new Exadata boxes at Oracle Openworld later this month.
Add it up and Hurd's move to Oracle adds up nicely. Hurd knows hardware. He knows how to sell integrated stacks of IT stuff. And he knows how to acquire companies.
However, three co-presidents is too much. Hurd passes Charles Phillips on the way out. Phillips had a nice tandem with co-president Safra Catz. Catz was finance. Phillips was the customer front man you'd see at product launches, ERP deal closings and other key events. Phillips has been credited by analysts for allaying fears of customers who were acquired. After all, someone had to keep Peoplesoft, J.D. Edwards and Siebel customers hanging around.
Phillips, a former Morgan Stanley analyst, was looking to leave the company. Ellison said in another statement:
Charles has evolved our field culture toward a more customer-centric organization and improved our top line consistency through a period of tremendous change and growth. When Charles approached me last December and expressed his desire to transition out of the company, I asked him to stay on through the Sun integration which has gone well. We will miss his talent and leadership, but I respect his decision.
Not all observers will agree that Phillips was great with customers. However, Phillips was a consistent front man. Now Hurd is that front man. It's going to be interesting to watch how Hurd will be received by Oracle customers.
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- Ethics of Exit - two opposing views on HP’s ousting of Hurd
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