Will you buy your Oracle software from Charles Phillips?

Will you buy your Oracle software from Charles Phillips?

Summary: Oracle President Charles Phillips' 8-and-a-half year affair with an actress writer took a very public turn this week. It's unclear whether there will be any fallout for Phillips, essentially the face of Oracle's customer relations.


Oracle President Charles Phillips' 8-and-a-half year affair with an actress-writer took a very public turn this week. It's unclear whether there will be any fallout for Phillips, essentially the face of Oracle's customer relations.

The big question: Does someone's personal life issues impact whether customers sign up for big enterprise software licenses?

Credit: Photo by Jen Gallardo

Credit: Photo by Jen Gallardo

Phillips affair with YaVaughnie Wilkins hit the billboards last week. Reports were everywhere--New York Daily News, New York Post and CBS News among others---about Wilkins and Phillips. In a nutshell, Wilkins took out billboards in New York, Atlanta and San Francisco to out the affair with Phillips. Phillips entered divorce proceedings in 2008 and the Wilkins relationship is over.

It's safe to say that the Wilkins billboard incident is an embarrassment, but does it matter for software sales?

Reaction from a lot of Oracle watchers varies dramatically. Among some of issues raised by enterprise software industry insiders:

  • What happens if some customers refuse to deal with Phillips? Is it a board of directors issue or does CEO Larry Ellison have to make a call.
  • Phillips may need to lay low until this dies down. That means Phillips, a key cog in Oracle's customer relations, won't be as visible as the company outlines its strategy for Sun.
  • The case for Phillips to be the next Oracle CEO just got weaker.
  • Phillips should resign since he embarrassed Oracle.

My take: These questions and concerns are valid, but it's extremely hard for me to make the leap that what Phillips did in his spare time will impact the return on your enterprise software  buying decisions. It's not like Phillips was running for president of the United States. It's not like Phillips was a preacher. We're talking enterprise software licensing---and now hardware---and what customers get out of it. Aside from a snicker or two it's hard to envision a long-term hit to Phillips career.

What's your take as an IT buyer?

Topics: Oracle, Enterprise Software, Software

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  • Who the hell is YaVaughnie?

    It is at least a good publicity stunt by her.

    And while Mr. Phillips is not running for president, he is a member of Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (according to other articles).

    For me, his personnal life should be his own thing, but if you see that Boeing's CEO resigned for the same kind of behaviour, I can see it happen. Then again, Mr. Ellison's (past) personal life may not be a high yardstick for the company employees.
    Roque Mocan
  • Who cares?

    Must something about USA culture... In Western Europe (and not only in France!), we can't imagine that this kind of thing would matter anything at all.

    Let the guy date whoever he wants, as long as it concerns consenting adults... The only thing that counts, is that he does his job well.
  • RE: Will you buy your Oracle software from Charles Phillips?

    From a professional perspective (in his current role) it doesn't matter. His personal life doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the software and the firm's commitment to supporting it. I would think he could probably continue in a good capacity in his current role.

    However, I do think he should lay low for awhile and figure things out. And it definitiely does put him in a poor position to ever be CEO. I have to say, I looked at YaVaughnie's photo album, and he was in really really deep with this younger woman. He played with her emotions (and his wife's too for that matter) horribly. From the looks of it, she tried leaving several times and he begged her to stay, spouting whatever lies he could muster.

    So in that effect, my opinion of him as a human being is pretty much zero. I would never want to see him be CEO of Oracle, and would have a problem with it. What kind of disgusting user strings a woman along for 8 years, lies to his family for 8 years? One that is completely narcissitic and sick.
    • Why can't she respect herself?

      I thought that being narcissist and sleek was a requirement for the position of company president and CEO. Along with ambitious and driven.

      I don't say it facetiously or as criticism. You don't get to those positions "by chance".

      He had a relationship with her. They had it good while it lasted. Now it's over. Why can't she just move on? It is very clear to me what he is getting away from. Who wants to be with a clingy revengeful woman who cannot behave as a functioning adult?

      I respect women enough as not to think of them as "oh, poor thing, this man played with you". I mean, they can be as intelligent, mature, and rational as any man, why treat them as if the man always has the upper hand?

      Forget what she is doing to him, She is really disrespecting herself by exposing her relationship that way.
  • RE: Will you buy your Oracle software from Charles Phillips?

    The question is one of trust. While a lack of trust could affect a relationship between a customer and their local sales person, the idea an vendor's executive is untrustworthy is unlikely to impact local sales.

    The bigger impact is internal. If Phillips is violating his trust with his family, is he doing the same with his direct reports?
  • Couldn't care less

    It's about software, not personality. I don't ask the guy to be a role-model, only to have his company deliver quality products - which it does.

    And as an aside, I'm not even sure what exactly is objectionable in his conduct. But I didn't dig into it - don't care.
  • RE: Will you buy your Oracle software from Charles Phillips?

    Guess you can say he "Really is screwing
    the people" with his tool(s).(software)
    If he kept dark secrets form his wife that long
    imagine what your software applications are doing....!
  • RE: Will you buy your Oracle software from Charles Phillips?

    The shareholders only care about the Oracle stock performance and not about Phillip's personal life. BTW, how could YaVaughnie pay for these billboards? I smell a rat here. Someone intent on embarrassing any Obama appointee or maybe the woman really wants to be rich and famous and this is her only option. I wouldn't be surprised if the funding came from some rightwing group, media outlet, or big software competitor.
  • adieu orac$e.

    don't buy from this fraudulent company
  • Credit card scam!

    this looks like a credit card scam to collect your credit card numbers.
  • I don't get it.

    JF Kennedy was a womanizer from the word go, with his most famous conquest Marilyn Monroe, but people still worship him as some kind of saint today.

    Yet let Tiger Woods, John Edwards, and this guy I know nothing of and never heard of, have an affair or two outside of marriage and all hell breaks loose.

    I think people need to spend a little more time worrying about their own personal affairs instead of others affairs. Who among you doesn't have a skeleton or two in your closet? Not many, I would venture to say.

    Let's go back to the good old days when we judged a business person by their performance on the job and quit this 'holier than thou' BS every time someone gets caught screwing up their personal life. If it weren't for the press thinking they have the right to know and broadcast everything they see and hear, most of these things would never be common knowledge. I am for free speech and free press, but too many people use these rights to intentionally harm others just to line their own pockets.

    Leave the man alone and let him do his job.
  • RE: Will you buy your Oracle software from Charles Phillips?

    I would certainly purchase from Oracle. Oracle has the requisite checks and balances to deliver a superior product to the market, despite the personal (poor) decisions of its co-president.

    The actions of Ya(Psycho)? only provide insight as to why Mr. Phillips returned to his marriage and thus bolsters my confidence in his decision making abilities.
  • Not as important as value.

    And unfortunately for Oracle, there are alternative databases, at least one of which is free and fully meets 90% of use cases.
  • Shell companies to pay for his mistress mansion?

    I would let the "womanizing" pass as not indicative of corporate performance - even though it is inmoral. But having shell companies to pay for her mansion, for 8 years?
    Roque Mocan
  • Don't buy anyrthing from Orac$e

    It's fraudulent money mongering company!
    • hilarious

      a money mongering company!
    • So, Oracle sells money?

      Definition of Monger: Verb: Sell or offer for sale from place to place

      So "money mongering" would be selling money, right?

      Get back in your hole, Troll.
    • I recognize you from your accent

      Say hello to SAP chairman Henning Kagermann, everyone!
  • It's a question of character

    Now I don't trust him and I don't share his values. If he's able
    to cheat his wife and family to whom he wrote a contract so
    many years ago, he's likely to do it to his customers if the
    need arises.
  • RE: Will you buy your Oracle software from Charles Phillips?

    I don't care who or what he's boinking on his own time. Just hope he washes his hands before he comes to the diner table!
    MarCad Class 1462