With Oracle founder and former CEO Larry Ellison taking a passenger seat, yet an active role as chairman, at his own company, the line of succession might not be lead to its co-CEOs Safra Catz or Mark Hurd, but to its president of software development, Thomas Kurian. Reuters notes that in Ellison’s twice weekly meetings in the board room, it is Thomas Kurian, 47, who engages in “rapid fire exchanges, ” with Ellison and often between meetings, they are the only two in the room.
A former executive told Reuters, “He (Ellison) always looks back at Thomas and says, ‘Thomas, what do you think? Thomas, let’s do that.’ It was something to watch then.” The rapport between the so man is so positive, that some believe that the next leader of Oracle may not be Catz or Hurd, but Kurian. “He has Larry’s ear, ” said an executive.” He is his trusted solider.”
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Meanwhile, Ellison is spending his time pursuing his passion, which is sailing, and in developing an Hawaiian island which he practically owns into an eco-tourism spot. It is said that Ellison wants a successor who lives and breathes technology, and while Kurian keeps a low profile, he fits that description. Kurian works long hours, keeps his head down and has masterminded Oracle’s middleware business and has played a pivotal role in developing Oracle’s stream of products. While his loyalty to Ellison is unquestioned, some have criticized Kurian’s management style, because he is loathe to delegate, but would rather take care of all of the details himself.