Larry Ellison: What you need to know about rags to riches Oracle founder


Maria Tadeo
Friday 19 September 2014 16:35 BST

On Thursday, Oracle announced its co-founder Larry Ellison would step down as chief executive after 35 years at the helm of the software giant. This is what you need to know about the fabulous life of the software mogul:

1. Ellison had a difficult childhood growing up in Chicago. Born to an unmarried teenage mother in the Bronx, New York, he only found he was adopted aged 12 and did not meet his biological mother until he was 48. Ellison was a mediocre student, disliked traditional education and dropped out of university. However, he had ambition and later moved to California where he began to learn about programming.

2. After switching jobs multiple times, he founded his own company, Software Development Labs (SDL) with late friend and business partner Robert Miner in 1977. Inspired by an IBM research paper, Ellison came up with the idea of a lifetime: the Oracle relational database.

3. In 1986, Oracle went public and, with a 39 per cent stake in the company, Ellison became a millionaire and developed an appetite for fast cars, big mansions and yachts. However, the company found itself on the brink of bankruptcy in 1990 when it was discovered that its sales team had been booking revenues before they were in, and even selling products before they were available.

4. Ellison can be ruthless: he admitted to hiring investigators to go through the rubbish of a research group he thought worked for its longtime nemesis Microsoft. The episode was dubbed Oracle's "Trashgate".

5. It's been rumoured he was the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark in the Marvel franchise Iron Man and even made a cameo in Iron Man 2.

Described as a billionaire playboy, Stark runs a successful company, Stark Industries, gets to save the world (when he's not partying with supermodels) and is a brilliant inventor.


6. Ellison loves sailing and his Oracle Team USA made the comeback of all comebacks last year when they beat Emirates Team New Zealand to win the America's Cup.

7. He dresses in Armani suits and is known for his all-year round tan and carefully sculpted beard. He lives in a Japanese-style mansion and owns an island in Hawaii. He has been married and divorced four times.

8. He's only tweeted once- to make fun of rival SAP.

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