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Oracle’s sales organisation is a mess, multiple sources have told us.The Larry Ellison/Mark Hurd dynamic is driving Oracle’s salespeople nuts, says one former employee.
This person left a few months ago and was shocked at how many Oracle folks have since asked for help in leaving, too.
“700 people reached out to me from Oracle, wanting to know, ‘if you hear of anything’ to let them know,” he told Business Insider. “People are leaving in droves.”
We’ve heard this before. But here are a couple more examples:
- John Boucher went to ServiceSource in September. At Oracle he lead the national sales team that sold apps to large commercial accounts.
- Tom Marth is now the vice president of the central region for Workday. He was a former group vice president of sales at Oracle.
- John Goedert, former vice president of operations for Oracle’s Global Retail, is now a senior vice president at Infor, the company headed by former Oracle president Charles Phillips.
“Lots of top [sales] reps want to cash out and leave and most have, going to Salesforce, VMware, Microsoft, SAP, etc.,” says the former employee. “People don’t leave great companies. They leave poor management and leadership. I thought I would retire at Oracle. Loved it! Oracle is a great company that lost its focus on their people and brought in a leader that doesn’t balance out the strong-minded Larry Ellison.”
In other words, some employees think the problem is Mark Hurd.
Ellison is widely admired by his employees as a brilliant visionary, despite his reputation as a hellcat. But employees know he’s “obsessive, competitive, a really bright, charging guy” that needs a counterbalance, says this employee. He had that with other No. 2’s like Ray Lane and Charles Phillips.
“Charles Phillips was the Wall Street guy that developed an acquisition strategy which propelled Oracle through the last tough time,” the employee says. “Mark Hurd isn’t a counter balance. He’s like gas on the fire.”
Hurd is hyper-focused on Oracle’s biggest customers, the employee said. Hurd once said that 2,000 customers are bringing in 60% of Oracle’s revenue. Sales reps that serve those 2,000 are considered the inner circle elite. Sales people that aren’t are being left to duke it out, with lots in infighting, undercutting each other out of deals and organizational confusion, former employees have told us.
“It’s sad to see very talented people show up every day thinking, ‘I don’t know what’s expected of me,’ because they are associated to a middle-market group,” this employee reports.
Just a note, this employee has no sour grapes and still “loves” Oracle, he says. He believes that its hardware business is on the right track and its cloud could do well.
But unless it fixes the dynamic described above, more talent will likely head for the door.