SAN FRANCISCO (07/03/2000) - Oracle Corp. announced late Friday that Ray Lane, its long-time president and chief operating officer, is resigning from the company. No reason was given for Lane's departure, and a replacement has not been named.
Lane, who is 53, joined Oracle as COO eight years ago and was made president in 1996. He will remain a member of Oracle's board of directors, according to a brief statement that was distributed to Oracle employees by e-mail on Friday evening.
Lane's departure was announced after the markets closed Friday, but trading on the Nasdaq exchange Monday brought the company's share price down by US$3.86 from its previous close, to $80.19. Trading was halted at 1 p.m. EST Monday, in anticipation of the nation's July 4 Independence Day festivities.
Lane has been credited with playing an important role in Oracle's growth, although his contributions were often eclipsed by the company's colorful and outspoken chairman and chief executive officer, Larry Ellison. Lane's responsibilities included overseeing the company's sales force, and meeting with large customers to promote Oracle's software.
Lane was apparently a much sought-after executive in Silicon Valley. He was reported to have turned down the top job at Compaq Computer Corp. before it hired Michael Capellas as its new CEO.
In Friday's statement, Ellison thanked Lane for his work at the company.
"I am grateful to Ray for all of his efforts. He will be missed. We wish him nothing but the best," Ellison said in a statement.
While no replacement was named, several observers pointed to Gary Bloom, an executive vice president at the company, as a possible candidate for the job.
Bloom, along with Ellison and Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Henley, is part of Oracle's executive management committee.
Meanwhile, Oracle on Monday had yet to announced an executive search to replace Lane, according to Jennifer Glass, a company spokeswoman. For the time being, the managers who reported directly to Lane, including the company's top sales officials, will report to Ellison and the executive committee, Glass said.
Oracle was shaken last week by revelations that it had hired a detective firm to investigate three public advocacy groups that backed rival software giant Microsoft Corp. during its antitrust trial. Lane was not connected with the incident publicly, and it's not thought to have played a role in his decision to retire.
Oracle, in Redwood Shores, California, can be reached at +1-650-506-7000 or via the Internet at http://www.oracle.com/.