Lawrence J. Ellison was born in the Bronx, New York. At nine months, he contracted pneumonia, and his unmarried 19-year-old mother gave him to her aunt and uncle in Chicago to raise. As a boy, Larry Ellison showed an independent, rebellious streak and often clashed with his adoptive father. From an early age, he showed a strong aptitude for math and science.
During the final exams in his second year, Larry Ellison’s adoptive mother died, and he dropped out of school. He enrolled at the University of Chicago the following fall, but dropped out again after the first semester. The seemingly aimless young man had already learned the rudiments of computer programming in Chicago. For the next eight years, Ellison bounced from job to job.
In 1977, Ellison and two of his Amdahl colleagues, Robert Miner and Ed Oates, founded their own company, Software Development Labs. From the beginning, Ellison served as Chief Executive Officer.
Ellison and his partners won a two-year contract to build a relational database management system (RDBMS) for the CIA. The project’s code name: Oracle. They finished the project a year ahead of schedule and used the extra time to develop their system for commercial applications. They named their commercial RDBMS Oracle as well. The million dollar company was becoming a billion dollar company. Ellison renamed the company Oracle Corporation, for its best-selling product.
Oracle went public in 1986, raising $31.5 million with its initial public offering, but the firm’s zealous young staff habitually overstated revenues, and in 1990 the company posted its first losses. A new version of the database program Oracle 7, released in 1992, swept the field and made Oracle the industry leader in database management software. In only two years the company’s stock had regained much of its previous value.
Even as Oracle’s fortunes rose again, Ellison suffered a series of personal mishaps. Long an enthusiast of strenuous outdoor activities, Ellison suffered serious injuries while body-surfing and mountain biking. He recovered from major surgery but still continued his sporting s. Ellison is a principal supporter of the BMW Oracle Racing team.
Under Ellison’s leadership, Oracle became a pioneer in providing business applications over the Internet. Oracle benefited hugely from the growth of electronic commerce. CEO Larry Ellison, came close to a long-cherished goal, surpassing Microsoft’s Bill Gates to become the richest man in the world.
Beginning in 2004, Ellison set out to increase Oracle’s market share through a series of strategic acquisitions. Oracle spent more than $25 billion in only three years to buy a flock of companies and large and small, makers of software for managing data, identity, retail inventory and logistics. The first major acquisition was PeopleSoft, purchased at the end of 2004 for $10.3 billion. Ellison capped this buying spree with the acquisition of business intelligence software provider Hyperion Solutions in 2007. Oracle became the world’s largest business software company, supplying all 100 of the Fortune Global 100.
Today, Lawrence Ellison has his principal home in Woodside, California. He served as President of Oracle from 1978 to 1996, and undertook two stints as Chairman of the Board, from 1990 to 1992, and again from 1995 to 2004. Since its founding, he has been Oracle’s only Chief Executive Officer.
The America’s Cup race is scheduled by agreement between the defending champion and the challenger who has qualified through a preceding series of races. In recent decades, the contest has been held roughly once every three years. The United States, represented by the Golden Gate Yacht Club and Ellison’s Team Oracle had their first opportunity to defend their hard-won title in September 2013. At Ellison’s insistence, the 2103 contest was held in San Francisco Bay. In a stunning turnaround, Oracle took the next race, and the next, and the next, winning the contest nine races to eight. Just as Ellison revolutionized the world of business software, so has he transformed the sport of yacht racing.After many years of pursuing a victory in the America’s Cup yacht race, Ellison triumphed at last in 2010. Ellison joined the crew of the BMW Oracle for the second leg of the two-day competition, when the giant trimaran was ahead of the second-place finisher. Ellison’s victory brought the 159-year-old America’s Cup, back to the United States for the first time in 15 years.