Ex-Oracle President Joins Investment Firm

After his surprise departure from Oracle Corp. early last month, Raymond Lane, the former second-in-command at the U.S. database, tools and applications vendor, has found himself a new role in the venture capital world.

Lane, previously Oracle's longtime president and chief operating officer, has joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) as a general partner, the venture capital company announced yesterday. KPCB has invested in leading companies including America Online Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and VeriSign Inc.

"If you were an entrepreneur, you would seek [Lane] out," says Doug Mackenzie, a partner at KPCB. "He'll hit the ground running in some of the obvious areas of enterprise software and solutions, supply-chain management, commercial and industrial business-to-business and that kind of thing."

Many former top executives in the information technology industry have moved into the world of venture capital. One of Lane's new colleagues at KPCB is Thomas Jermoluk, the former chairman of Internet service provider ExciteAtHome.

Lane couldn't be reached for comment today about his appointment.

Lane joined Oracle in 1992 as president of the vendor's U.S. operations, becoming the company's executive vice president and president of worldwide operations on his way to the No. 2 seat. He joined Oracle from the consulting world, where he was a senior partner at Booz, Allen & Hamilton, where he worked with Mackenzie. Other companies on Lane's resume are Electronic Data Systems Corp. and IBM.

Playing second fiddle to Oracle's flamboyant Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison appeared to work well for Lane, at least from the outside. He reportedly turned down the top job at Compaq Computer Corp. before the PC vendor hired Michael Capellas as its new CEO.

The reasons behind Lane's departure from Oracle remain unclear, but it appears that Ellison was taking over more and more of the day-to-day responsibilities for the company's operations -- a role Lane had previously filled. Oracle has yet to appoint Lane's replacement.

Lane and KPCB began their courtship last month at a golfing match at Pebble Beach in Monterey, Calif. Said Mackenzie, who also sits on the board of Marimba with Lane, "We had a good time."

Clare Haney writes for the IDG News Service. Ronna Abramson contributed to this story.

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