Oracle Product Chief Thomas Kurian resigns

Thomas Kurian, President of Oracle Product Development has stepped down, three weeks after taking extended time off from the company.

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In a major shake-up, one of the top executives at Oracle resigned from the company on September 28. Thomas Kurian was the president of Oracle product development and reported to Oracle executive chairman of the board and chief technology officer Larry Ellison.

He is the force behind the company’s shift to cloud and is responsible for leading software development at the firm. His bio on Oracle’s website mentions that under his leadership, the Oracle Fusion Middleware family of products became the fastest-growing with Oracle and the industry’s leading middleware product suite.

So, what went wrong?

In early September, Kurian took an extended leave from the company and thanked his employees via an email for their contribution towards Oracle’s cloud efforts. He was expected to return shortly. However, on September 28, he informed the company that he’d be stepping down to pursue other opportunities.

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“Mr. Kurians’ duties and responsibilities have been assigned to other senior executives in Oracle’s development organization,” the company mentioned in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Kurian went on an extended leave because of difference of opinion with Executive Chairman Larry Ellison over Oracle’s cloud strategy. The report pointed at a growing C-suite battle inside the company as Kurian apparently wanted to make more of Oracle’s software available to run on public cloud giants such as AWS and Microsoft Azure. However, Ellison favored a more “closed” approach based on the premise that Oracle Cloud is the optimal choice for Oracle workloads.

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Kurian has held various leadership and product management positions at the company. He has spearheaded a 35,000-person software development team across 32 countries and developed products that generated USD 35 billion in annual revenues including USD 5.5 billion in cloud revenue for Oracle. 

While he led the cloud shift at the firm, it would be interesting to see what happens after his exit as the company continues the struggle to compete with AWS and Microsoft – the top dogs of cloud computing in 2018.