Oracle president/COO departs

Oracle announced this week that COO and president Raymond Lane is resigning, leaving chairman Larry Ellison to pick up the pieces. Ellison described the departure as a "mutual decision" due to Ellison's desire to increase his own involvement in the company. "\[Lane's\] job has changed dramatically," Ellison said this week, noting that Lane's responsibilities have decreased as Ellison took more of a hands-on role. "He has gradually been decommissioning himself."

In a company that is ruled by a strong personality such as Ellison, it's hard for any executive to leave a mark. Lane, who joined Oracle in 1992, was instrumental in helping the company get through a turbulent financial period in the mid-1990s. But as the company's fortunes began to rise with the advent of the Internet, the mercurial Ellison has been more and more visible. Lane was the frequent target of headhunters. In 1997, Ellison secured 2.5 million shares of Oracle stock for Lane to thwart an offer from Novell. But even Ellison is very clear on the situation at Oracle: Like Gates and Microsoft, Oracle is a one-horse town.

"He used to be more autonomous," Ellison said. "The line had always been that Ray wanted to run his own show, and there is only one show at Oracle." Ellison will assume the mantle of CEO and president, at least for the time being

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