Oracle slashes Larry Ellison's stock options following shareholder discontent

An Oracle spokeswoman won't say whether the cut is related to shareholders' gripes about executive pay

Oracle has granted CEO Larry Ellison 3 million stock options, a significant reduction from the 7 million options he received in previous years, according to a regulatory filing.

Other Oracle executives, such as co-presidents Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, were also awarded smaller stock option grants than in the past, other filings made Monday show. Each received 2.25 million stock options, compared to 5 million last year.

The changes, which were first reported by The Wall Street Journal, come after years of shareholder discontent over Oracle's executive compensation.

An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the lower grants were in response to shareholder demand.

Oracle has defended its compensation practices by arguing that stock options aren't valuable unless the company's share price rises, an outcome that is good for both executives and every other Oracle shareholder.

Last year, Oracle secretary and general counsel Dorian Daley characterized Ellison as Oracle's "most critical strategic visionary," with his pay being more than reasonable given Ellison's track record.

Ellison owns about one-fourth of Oracle's outstanding stock, representing more than 1.1 billion shares, according to a regulatory filing.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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