Safra Catz, who was co-president and CFO of Oracle until Thursday, has just been promoted to co-CEO — alongside Mark Hurd — after its founder and longtime CEO Larry Ellison announced he’s stepping down to the Executive Chairman position.
Oracle said in a statement that Catz will be responsible for all manufacturing, finance, and legal decisions, while Hurd will be in charge of sales, service, and global business units. Ellison will continue to oversee all software and hardware engineering functions.
The move might come as a bit of a surprise, but Catz’s track record tells she was a natural choice for Oracle’s board.
Catz first joined Oracle in 1999 as senior VP. But she quickly rose through the ranks, becoming executive VP within seven months, and president of Oracle Corporation by 2004, a position she had kept for over a decade. She served as Oracle’s interim CFO from November 2005 to September 2008, only to return to the same role in 2011 as full-time CFO. She’s also been an Oracle board member since 2001.
A former banker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, an investment bank that was later acquired by Credit Suisse, Catz has played a major role in Oracle’s M&A department, overseeing nearly 100 M&A deals worth billions of dollars for the company. Some of the biggest deals she’s led include the $US10.3 billion acquisition of PeopleSoft and the $US7.4 billion deal for Sun Microsystems. She’s a graduate of the Wharton School, but also holds a law degree from UPenn, which made her Ellison’s consigliere as well.
As remarkable as her resume is, Catz is perhaps better-known for regularly being named the highest-paid woman executive in the world. Last year, she made $US44.3 million in total compensation, easily becoming the world’s top paid female exec and CFO. In 2013, she became the first female to hold the highest-paid CFO position, when she made approximately $US43.6 million. That amount, in fact, was a drop from her 2012 compensation of $US51.7 million.
“Safra and Mark are exceptional executives who have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to lead, manage and grow the company. The Directors are thrilled that the best senior executive team in the industry will continue to move the company forward into a bright future,” Oracle Board’s Presiding Director Michael Boskin said in a statement.