Oracle loses Chief Executive Mark Hurd raising expectations on Co-Chief Safra Catz

UNITED STATES – American multinational computer technology corporation Oracle Corporation has lost its 62-year-old co-chief Mark Hurd who died in late October this year.

The unexpected development has raised pressure on co-CEO Safra Catz to lead the business software maker’s ongoing transition to cloud computing.

The company has however not given details on Hurd’s death although its known that he went on a medical leave last month for unspecified health reasons and his responsibilities were taken over by Catz and founder Larry Ellison.

“Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle,” Ellison wrote in an email to company employees.

Hurd and Catz were named co-CEOs in 2014, after Ellison decided to step aside to focus on his role as chief technology officer.

Under their tenure, Oracle has been aggressively pushing into cloud computing to make up for a late entry into the fast-growing business dominated by Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc.

 “Safra and Larry have been long-time collaborators and partners in leading Oracle, and the company has a deep bench of sales talent,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Steve Koenig who added that he does not see any changes in how the company will be run after Hurd’s demise.

Hurd joined Oracle as co-president in September 2010, a month after he was ousted in a controversial fashion from Hewlett-Packard Co, where he had been chief executive since 2005.

Hurd resigned from HP in August 2010 after allegations of sexually harassing an employee. An internal probe later cleared him of those charges, though it found him guilty of filing inaccurate expense reports.

When Hurd and Catz were named co-CEOs in 2014, analysts were skeptical about the dual CEO structure. However, cloud software giants like Salesforce.com Inc have followed suit.

Remaining CEO, Catz, trained in finance and law, was a Wall Street banker from 1986 until she joined Oracle in 1999 and has been a central figure in Oracle’s many acquisitions.

Sales-oriented Hurd spent 25 years at computer and ATM pioneer NCR Corp before joining HP.

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