Mark became president of Oracle Corporation on September 6, 2010 and shared the position with Safra Catz. Appointed by Larry Ellison (CEO at the time), Mark also joined Oracle’s board of directors.
Hurd’s first order of business was radically reshaping the company’s sales force. Beginning in 2013, Hurd implemented a “specialist” model. Instead of selling a range of Oracle products, each salesperson would become an expert in a single category. That year Mark hired over four thousand salespeople under this new model, restructuring territory assignments, compensation and quotas to help drive growth.
Armed with the belief that spending money in the short-term could benefit long-term growth, Hurd wasn’t shy about bolstering the sales force. “We are going to invest, but we are not changing our revenue goals,” he told Business Insider. “If you tell me something will grow the top line, you have unfettered access to the checkbook.’’
Hurd met with a sales group and asked the sales manager (several layers of management from him) what she needed most. Her response: “More reps.” Hurd shocked her when he agreed to hire them on the spot.
– Inside the Life and Mind of Oracle CEO Mark Hurd | Business Insider
Another sales innovation sprang from a dinner with his daughter and her friends, all of whom had recently graduated from college. Drawing from the energy of enthusiastic young people ready to change the world, Mark envisioned a new program built for recent graduates that could inject a startup feel into Oracle. The result was the creation of “Class Of,” Oracle’s initiative for hiring college graduates into a dedicated sales program, preparing them to become Oracle’s future sales leaders. Oracle now recruits thousands of students every year through the “Class Of,” program, and every single one of them still has a one-on-one with Mark where they are encouraged to share feedback on improving the program.
In 2014, Larry Ellison became the CTO of Oracle, promoting Mark Hurd and Safra Catz as chief executive officers. Mark took over leadership of sales, marketing, and services, whereas Safra helmed finance, operations, and legal. Though rare among Silicon Valley companies, the partnership has proved fruitful, with Oracle’s stock hitting a high of $51 in 2017.
In 2015, Mark saw an increasing trend of migration to the cloud, a vision that has been borne out in today’s market. He predicted that 80% of corporate data centers would be gone by 2025, shifting resources to cloud services and making Oracle’s cloud database offerings a top priority for the company. He pushed investments in Oracle Cloud R&D, building data centers to take on competitors such as Amazon and Microsoft. Mark leveraged Oracle OpenWorld, the largest enterprise technology conference, to pitch the connected cloud experience, both through keynote addresses and one-on-one meetings with hundreds of customers. Acquisitions were another pathway toward Oracle’s cloud success. In the summer of 2016, Oracle announced the purchase of NetSuite, known as the “very first cloud company,” for approximately $9.3 billion. Mark saw the merger as another opportunity for growth stating, “We intend to invest heavily in both products—engineering and distribution.” Other acquisitions such as Bronto, LogFire, and Wercker also brought new offerings to Oracle’s position in the cloud space.
Oracle Cloud offers the broadest selection of enterprise-grade computing solutions developed for flexibility, security, and scale. Bringing together components such as HCM Cloud, ERP Cloud, EPM Cloud, and more, Oracle provides support across categories in SaaS, PaaS, DaaS and IaaS. Only Oracle supports a unique blend of public, private, and hybrid cloud options, which Mark Hurd identifies as critical: “one of Oracle’s core differentiators is the fact that most of our competitors are either all cloud or all on premises. The fact that we can do both and be able to align those two worlds, I think, becomes a very critical capability of Oracle’s that our customers benefit from.” As more businesses see the value in moving their businesses to the cloud, Mark’s predictions from 2014 ring truer every year.
In his pursuit to cloud success, Hurd has secured historic and significant deals with AT&T, Bank of America, and Qantas Airlines; helping bring their existing databases to the cloud with Oracle. Oracle technology now serves over 420,000 customers across 195 countries and territories.