By Robert Wall and Asa Fitch
Oracle Corp. said Mark Hurd, one of its two chief executives officers, died Friday.
Oracle said last month that Mr. Hurd, 62, was taking a medical leave of absence, removing the technology giant's top executive for sales and strategy at a time of intensifying competition in the business-software market.
Oracle didn't immediately mention the cause of death and hadn't said what specific issues the CEO was facing when he took leave.
Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison said "Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle."
The death means Safra Catz is Oracle's sole CEO. Since September 2014 Oracle has had an unusual leadership structure in which Mr. Hurd and Ms. Catz share the CEO title, while Mr. Ellison is chairman and technology chief.
The sweeping changes in the way businesses manage their data in recent years have meant Oracle and other legacy information technology providers have struggled to maintain their dominant position. Oracle's market capitalization has fallen 2.4% since the announcement that Mr. Hurd would became CEO alongside Ms. Catz. IBM's market cap is down 38% and Microsoft's is up around 175% over the same time.
Mr. Hurd joined Oracle in 2010 after resigning his role as Hewlett Packard CEO on Aug. 6 that year. The computer maker's board had investigated Mr. Hurd over his relationship with a female contractor. Though the board found Mr. Hurd didn't violate company's policy regarding sexual-harassment, it found he violated company standards by submitting inaccurate expense reports to conceal the relationship.
In a statement at the time, Mr. Hurd said that "there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at H-P and which have guided me throughout my career." A spokesman for Mr. Hurd said later that there was nothing untoward or improper about Mr. Hurd's relationship with the contractor.
He quickly re-emerged at Oracle, hired by the company's co-founder Larry Ellison for the role. The two were tennis buddies and Mr. Ellison had spoken out against H-P's board for pushing out the CEO.
When Mr. Ellison became Oracle's executive chairman, Mr. Hurd became CEO in 2014 alongside Ms. Catz. Mr. Hurd helped move Oracle to more aggressively pursue cloud computing deals -- a booming field in which the company had fallen behind rivals.
At Oracle, Mr. Hurd closely oversaw the company's sales structure as the company battled to maintain its position as a large force in the software-as-a-service market, where it is the No. 3, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Mr. Hurd also had been closely involved in Oracle's bid to win customers in the booming field of cloud-computing to catch up with rivals Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft, that dominate market. Although Oracle's cloud efforts have gained pace in recent years, the company remains far behind the two cloud giants.
Prior to joining HP in 2005, Mr. Hurd spent 25 years working his way up the sales and marketing ranks at NCR, previously known as National Cash Register Co. He was named president in 2001 and CEO two years later.
When he took over NCR, it was struggling, coming off a year when it posted a loss of $220 million. He quickly moved to expand NCR's reach and cut costs. Under Mr. Hurd, NCR fired employees, some who had spent their entire career with the company.
Mr. Hurd's death isn't like to lead to major changes at Oracle, Nomura analyst Chris Eberle said, given the large involvement Mr. Ellison has always had in setting the company's direction as executive chairman and chief technology officer.
"Larry believes a dual-CEO structure is needed for the company, so he wants to stay with that structure," Mr. Eberle said. "There will be someone elevated from within, I think." Oracle didn't immediately respond to request for comment on whether the company would add a second CEO alongside Ms. Catz.
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