It’s the end of an era in the computer industry. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, the longest-running founder CEO the tech industry has ever seen, is stepping down from the CEO role. He’s been CEO at Oracle since 1977. He will now become executive chairman and CTO.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison gestures during his keynote address at Oracle Open World in San Francisco, California September 22, 2010.
He is turning the reins over to his his right-hand man and woman. Mark Hurd and Safra Catz will become co-CEOs.
Ellison’s life story sounds like a made-for-TV movie saga. Raised by working-class Russian-
Jewish immigrant relatives on Chicago’s South Side, he was always bright but never a great student, dropped out of college not just once, but twice, before moving to Northern California at age 22, in 1966.
Once in California, he got work as a computer programmer. Then he read a paper published by IBM about a new kind of database programming language called SQL.
Ellison took that paper and turned SQL into the Oracle database, rewriting it so it could run on any computer. And he founded Oracle with his former boss, Robert Miner, along with Ed Oates and Bruce Scott.
It wasn’t an instant success, reports Forbes, but after a few years, SQL took off.
The Oracle database became the most popular database ever sold and it propelled Ellison to become the best-paid CEO in the world and the fifth richest man in the world, with a net worth of $51 billion.