Charles Phillips

The Larry, Mark and Safra show at Oracle

September 7, 2010: 12:52 AM ET

Oracle's hiring of ousted HP CEO Mark Hurd sends two signals: Larry Ellison doesn't plan on calming his executive suite -- and IBM is even more in his sights.

On paper, everything is right about Mark Hurd becoming co-president of Oracle (ORCL). He is the operational yin to CEO Larry Ellison's innovative yang. Once the innovators of Silicon Valley looked down on the business people who knew how to  make budgets, manage people and market their brilliant inventions. Now the technical geniuses Mark Hurdrecognize those other types are needed.

Hurd is the ideal foil to Ellison. He was an accomplished executive even before he took his game up several notches when he moved from smallish NCR (NCR) to megalithic Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). Ellison, meanwhile, is a profoundly insightful technologist who has managed to stay one step ahead of industry changes while famously managing to avoid the nitty-gritty of business operations that don't interest him.

In practice, however, the arrival of the recently departed HP hard-charger will roil an already tumultuous executive suite at Oracle. More

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