With the recent announcement of Larry Ellison stepping down and replaced by current co-presidents, Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, the question arises whether it takes two minds to replace that of one visionary CEO or is it simply a prudent choice?
From the humble beginning in 1977 with 900 square feet of office space, Oracle has grown to a technology giant with a market capitalization of $185 billion. Naming a successor to any company with the size and success of Oracle is a challenge - so perhaps by choosing two, one emerges as the true leader of the next generation? Doubtful. The co-leadership model is already a success at Oracle. Ellison, Hurd & Catz all echo there will be no significant changes.
Sticking with what works. Hurd and Catz move into co-CEO roles with a history of working well together as co-presidents. At SeeItFit.com, we have followed the co-CEO path since inception - recognizing the wonderful gifts and challenges of co-leadership.
Without question, the working relationship between the two individuals determines success or failure. Catz has a strong financial background having once served as CFO of Oracle. Her strengths are complemented by Hurd’s propensity for creating long-term strategy and impeccable execution. Given these facts, the future of Oracle looks as bright as ever. Sometimes it’s better when those founding visionaries get out of the boardroom and back to the drawing board to focus on new products and designing for the future.
Related: Putting Two Leaders in Place
Taking risks while focused on the mission. With Oracle’s growth in areas such as healthcare and life sciences, and continued innovation across industries, it is critical for Catz and Hurd to put a premium on communication and collaboration. They must balance this with a willingness to take risks. Doing so will ensure consistency in the execution and alignment with Oracle’s overall mission.
The individual decisions made over their respective roles must feed directly into the common vision. Just as there is no “I” in “team,” there should be no “me” in the co-CEO structure. The focus is on “we.” We as a company. This holds true for start-ups as well as Fortune 100 corporations.
For Hurd, Katz and Oracle, it’s not their first time at this co-leadership rodeo. There will be bumps on the journey, but Ellison’s role can help offset any impasse and provide continuity of strategy. Instead of creating a two-headed monster, Oracle is likely to find good return for their co-leadership labor.