Oracle president and COO resigns

Oracle Corp. announced late last month that Ray Lane, its long-time president and chief operating officer, is resigning from the company. As of press time, no reason was given for Lane’s departure.

Lane, 53, joined Oracle as COO eight years ago and was made president in 1996. He will remain a member of Oracle’s board of directors, according to a brief statement distributed to Oracle employees by e-mail.

Lane has been credited with playing an important role in Oracle’s growth, although his contributions were often eclipsed by the company’s colourful and outspoken chairman and chief executive officer, Larry Ellison. Lane’s responsibilities included overseeing the company’s sales force, and meeting with large customers to promote Oracle’s software.

Lane was apparently a much sought-after executive in Silicon Valley. He was reported to have turned down the top job at Compaq Computer Corp. before it hired Michael Capellas as its new CEO.

In the statement, Ellison thanked Lane for his work at the company.

“I am grateful to Ray for all of his efforts. He will be missed. We wish him nothing but the best,” Ellison said.

While no replacement was named, several observers pointed to Gary Bloom, an executive vice-president at the company, as a possible candidate for the job. Bloom, along with Ellison and chief financial officer Jeffrey Henley, is part of Oracle’s executive management committee.

Meanwhile, as of press time, Oracle had yet to announce an executive search to replace Lane, according to Jennifer Glass, a company spokesperson. For the time being, the managers who reported directly to Lane, including the company’s top sales officials, will report to Ellison and the executive committee, Glass said.

Oracle was shaken recently by revelations that it had hired a detective firm to investigate three public advocacy groups that backed rival software giant Microsoft Corp. during its antitrust trial. Lane was not connected with the incident publicly and it’s not thought to have played a role in his decision to retire.