Former high-profile Oracle exec Charles Phillips is quietly running one of the biggest enterprise software companies you’ve never heard of: Infor.And he plans to use Infor to cut down his old employer.
Or so he hopes, reports the New York Times.
“Oracle is big, but it’s focused on trying to put together a system of hardware, and it is confusing as a software company … on applications, they are easier to beat than SAP,” Phillips told the Times’ Quentin Hardy.
Naturally, he’s trying to beat SAP, too.
Infor, a private company, hit nearly $3 billion in revenues in 2012 – about $2.8 billion to be precise – which makes it about it big as Salesforce.com. That stat clearly surprised Marc Benioff when the two were talking on stage at a tech conference last year.
As of November, Infor had an estimated valuation of $16.1 billion. Like Oracle and SAP, its bread-and-butter is enterprise resource planning (aka accounting software) and human resources software. It tailors its software for particularly niche industries, like breweries or automotive design.
He’s building Infor much like he helped Ellison build Oracle: though acquisitions, two or more a year.
Phillips’ desire to beat Larry Ellison could be personal. He was once Ellison’s right-hand man as co-president at Oracle.
He left that job in 2010 in the aftermath of a personal scandal. His former mistress outed the affair by plastering their faces together on billboards in New York, San Francisco and Atlanta. Phillips, who was married at the time, was soon divorced, resigned from his board position at Morgan Stanley (he reportedly met the woman at Morgan Stanley) and out at Oracle.
He was replaced by Ellison’s buddy, another exec embroiled in a sex-scandal, Mark Hurd.
Famous playboy Ellison probably wasn’t all that concerned about Phillips’ private life but there was growing public tension between the two. Phillips had announced that Oracle planned to double the $35 billion it had spent on acquisitions and Oracle immediately withdraw and denied those plans.
So revenge is sweet for Phillips.
He plans to keep acquiring niche areas, adding a new industry every 18 months, until he’s grown enough to become Oracle and SAP’s biggest threat, Hardy reports.
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