Larry Ellison has resigned as CEO of Oracle, the tech giant he founded with $1,200 of his own money, promoting co-presidents Safra Catz and Mark Hurd to share the top job as his replacements.
Ellison, now 70, spent 35 years building Oracle into a software powerhouse, but resigns at a critical time, when the traditional business software market is being disrupted by the rise of cloud computing.
But despite his new chairman role, Ellison won’t have to worry quite so much about the future of his company than he once did. In fact, we at CBR hope he’ll now spend some more time exploring new and ever more decadent pastimes, so we can one day do a new list of brilliant Ellison factoids to add to the one you’ll find below.
He owns 98% of a Hawaiian island
In 2012, Ellison bought fellow billionaire David Murdock’s 98% stake in Lanai, a 140-square mile Hawaiian island home to about 3,100 people.
The deal, thought to be worth upwards of $500m, and includes two luxury resorts, two golf courses, two club houses and 88,000 acres of land.
It will end up costing Ellison even more, however, due to the tourist spot losing tens of millions of dollars a year in operating costs.
He’s a keen sailor
If you had $200m, what would you blow it on? Ellison decided to have a yacht built for him, the 500-foot long Rising Sun, so large it couldn’t even moor in most of thw world’s marinas. He later downsized, if that word is appropriate, to the 290-foot Musashi.
He has won the America’s Cup
Oracle Team USA won the prestigious sailing competiton, America’s Cup, in 2013 after a dramatic comeback to overcome an 8-1 deficit against Emirates Team New Zealand. He even blew off his Oracle OpenWorld keynote last year to be on the boat for the last race.
After winning a Caribbean boat race some years ago, Ellison celebrated by petulantly flying over his defeated rivals’ boat at nearly mast height.
He told Vanity Fair: "It was an incredibly adolescent and immature thing to do and I highly recommend it."
He has a nickname
Back in the ’80s, at the peak of Oracle’s arrogance, Peninsula magazine nicknamed Larry ‘The Shark’. Fitting for such a passionate seaman.
He’s cameo’d in a Hollywood movie
With the goateed Robert Downey Jr playing Tony Stark in Iron Man, Hollywood found its on-screen equivalent of Ellison: another arrogant, clever and rich tech company CEO. The parallel was so apparent, in fact, that Ellison makes an appearance in Iron Man 2, telling Stark "Call me".
He thanks his background for his success
The adopted son of two Russian immigrants in New York, and a college dropout to boot, Ellison once remarked: "I have had all of the disadvantages required for success."
His homes are vast sprawling properties
There’s no place like home. Well in Ellison’s case, there’s several places just like it. The billionaire has vast estates in San Francisco, Nevada, Malibu and Japan.
He’s the fifth richest man in the world
With personal wealth of $48bn, Ellison is the fifth richest man in the world – four places behind Bill Gates, at $76bn.
But he wants to give 95% of his money away
Two years ago, he joined fellow bajillionaires Bill Gates, his wife Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett in The Giving Pledge – Gates’ initiative to get billionaires to commit most of their wealth to charity. Ellison wants to give away 95% of his cash.
He gives sports cars as bonuses
Not to be outdone by Wall Street when it comes to mad bonuses and incentives, Ellison – a major sports car fan, particularly of the Acura NSX – has given them to employees as rewards for good work. We wonder whether he pays the road tax, too?
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