Oracle Made A Critical Mistake When It Bought Taleo: Getting Rid Of Its Employees

Larry Ellison

Photo: Business Insider

When Oracle bought Taleo in February for $1.9 billion, one of its first acts was to dismiss much of the talent that built the company, says former Taleo exec Al Campa.Campa had moved on from Taleo about a year earlier and still had Taleo shares so he was “pretty happy with that outcome” he told Business Insider, because Oracle bought Taleo for a premium of $46 a share.

“But, honestly, it was a little bitter sweet. While financially it was very positive, it was the end of a great company. Oracle basically didn’t keep significant chunks of Taleo, when they integrated it. Marketing largely got let go, a lot of good sales people got let go, almost the whole management team got let go. It was the end of an era,” he said.

Of Taleo’s five top executives, two of them took jobs at Oracle, sales chief Neil Hudspith and engineering leader Jason Blessing. In an April webcast to reassure Taleo customers, Blessing also said that Oracle¬† kept his engineering team.

But founder and CEO Mike Gregoire certainly didn’t stay. Gregoire had no fond feelings for Oracle. He lived through one of the nastiest hostile takeovers in software history: Oracle’s acquisition of PeopleSoft which closed in 2004 after more than a year of public fighting. The attack was so horrible that Larry Ellison once even joked about shooting PeopleSoft’s then CEO, Craig Conway.

Campa said that many of his former colleagues who stayed at Oracle are on the market looking for a new job.

“Even the people that didn’t get let go, many of them didn’t really want to work for Oracle. So it was like, you are in this great company, you are in this great job, you like what you are doing, boom and it’s over. Either you don’t have a job, or you have a job you don’t want.”

It’s not surprising that so many Taleo employees are having a rough time at Oracle. It was a culture shock. They went from a 1,200 person company to a company with over 100,000 employees. They went from working on the primary service, to being one of many, many products in a company known mostly for its database software.

Al CampaAl Campa

Photo: Reachable

The irony was that Taleo had grown to a company generating $300 million in revenue by selling HR software and “making people realise that business is about people and the better you are at finding the right people, and bringing them into the company” the more successful your business will be, says Campa who spent three years as Taleo’s Chief Marketing Officer.We asked Oracle how many Taleo employees remained at Oracle. Oracle had no comment.

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