Oracle CEO Mark Hurd to take a leave of absence for health reasons


Oracle said Mark Hurd, one of the software vendor’s two CEOs, is taking a leave of absence for health reasons, nine years after joining the company from Hewlett-Packard. The stock dropped in extended trading after the announcement.

Larry Ellison, Oracle’s founder and chief technology officer, will handle Hurd’s responsibilities along with Safra Catz, the other CEO. The company didn’t specify Hurd’s health issue or say how long he would be gone and a spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Though we all worked hard together to close the first quarter, I’ve decided that I need to spend time focused on my health,” Hurd, 62, wrote in a message distributed to Oracle employees on Wednesday, according to a statement. He said the board granted his request for a leave of absence.

Oracle released quarterly financial results at same time as it announced Hurd’s departure.

“We originally planned to hold this call tomorrow,” Catz told analysts on a conference call on Wednesday. “However, as Mark will be taking a leave of absence for a health-related reason, we felt it made sense to share all of our news at once.”

Hurd joined Oracle as president in 2010, following five years as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Before that he spent 25 years at NCR Corp., where he ultimately became CEO. Hurd resigned from HP after allegations that he sexually harassed an independent consultant.

“The H.P. board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago,” Ellison wrote in a letter to the New York Times after HP announced Hurd’s resignation. “That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn’t come back and saved them.”

Hurd was named as CEO of Oracle, alongside Catz, in 2014. In that capacity he has overseen sales, marketing, consulting, support, and business units focusing on industries.

“Oracle has an extremely capable CEO in Safra Catz and an extraordinarily deep team of executives, many with long tenure at Oracle,” Ellison said in the statement. He wished Hurd a speedy recovery.

OpenWorld, the company’s annual user conference in San Francisco, is scheduled to begin next week. In the press release, Hurd said he is confident “the entire executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we will showcase at the upcoming OpenWorld.”

In a separate statement, Oracle reported fiscal first quarter profit of 81 cents a share, excluding certain items, on $9.22 billion in revenue, which was roughly flat on an annualized basis. Earnings for the quarter, which ended on Aug. 31, met estimates, while sales came in just shy of the $9.29 expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv. Almost three-fourths of Oracle’s revenue now comes from cloud services and license support.

With respect to guidance, Catz said on the conference call that Oracle expects second quarter earnings per share of 87 cents to 89 cents. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected earnings of 91 cents a share, excluding certain items.

Oracle shares fell about 5% after the close. The stock is up about 25% this year.

“Mark was extremely engaged with the business through the end of our just completed Q1, but now Mark needs to focus on his health,” Catz said in the press release.

Hurd’s leave of absence comes after one of Oracle’s top executives, Thomas Kurian, departed to become head of Alphabet’s Google cloud business in 2018. Another executive, Amit Zavery, followed Kurian to Google earlier this year.

Hurd will keep receiving his benefits during his leave, Oracle said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday. In the 2018 fiscal year Hurd received $108.3 million in total compensation, mostly from $103 million in option awards, according to Oracle’s most recent proxy statement. In each of the two prior fiscal years, he earned about $41 million.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

WATCH: Watch CNBC’s exclusive interview with Oracle CEO Mark Hurd

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