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Meet the 10 Oracle execs backing CEO Safra Catz and founder Larry Ellison in the tech giant's cloud offensive against Amazon, Microsoft, and Google (ORCL)

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  • Oracle's bid to become a bigger player in the cloud has become more aggressive in the COVID-19 crisis, highlighted by a new partnership with Zoom.
  • The tech giant is up against stronger rivals led by Amazon, Microsoft and Google, but the need for more cloud capacity sparked by the sudden pivot to remote work has created opportunities for the Silicon Valley behemoth.
  • Here are the 10 Oracle executives who are playing key roles in CEO Safra Catz and founder Larry Ellison bold cloud offensive.
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Oracle has been through some jarring changes in the last seven months.
The tech giant lost a well-regarded and experienced co-CEO when Mark Hurd died in October after taking leave for health reasons, leaving Safra Catz as the solo CEO. Now, like other major tech companies, Oracle is grappling with the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
But Oracle has been through tough times in its 43-year history. In fact, the Silicon Valley giant has been known to seize opportunities during rough spots. It's already seen some success during this crisis, too: Oracle just scored a big win when videoconferencing company Zoom — suddenly facing a surge in demand — chose to expand on Oracle Cloud, instead of other platforms like top cloud provider Amazon. Oracle is generally considered a smaller player in the cloud wars, behind giants Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Alibaba.
Yes, Oracle still has a long way to go to match its rivals' reach, but its strategy of expanding its capacity by building more data centers seems to be paying off, IDC President Crawford Del Prete told Business Insider.
That increased capacity and Oracle's "world class" applications are key in the cloud words, Del Prete said: "Oracle is one of the few companies able to deliver both at scale in order to compete."
While Catz and founder, executive chairman, and chief technology officer Larry Ellison the lead company, they're also relying on key top executives, including cloud veterans from rival Amazon, to advance Oracle's cloud strategy.
Nearly all are white men, something Oracle has criticized for in the past: Over 30 members of Congress slammed the company late last year about the lack of diversity in its leadership team and on its board.
Meet the 10 top executives playing important roles in Oracle's cloud offensive:
SEE ALSO: Oracle is known for making bold M&A moves in a recession and it's sitting on a fresh $20 billion. Here are the 7 companies experts think it could acquire as the coronavirus crisis drives down valuations
SEE ALSO: Experts lay out five moves that Oracle founder Larry Ellison, one of tech's best tacticians, might take in a coronavirus-driven downturn

Don Johnson left Amazon to focus on Oracle's cloud infrastructure.



Title: Executive vice president, cloud infrastructure
Reports to: Larry Ellison
Johnson  played a key role in Amazon's dramatic expansion in the cloud before joining Oracle in 2014.
He was instrumental in setting up Oracle's cloud engineering development center in Seattle and in the tech giant's expanding data center footprint.  Johnson has also led another major Oracle initiative: forming a cloud partnership with Microsoft.




Oracle's chief corporate architect Edward Screven has been with the company since 1986.



Title: Chief corporate architect
Reports to: Larry Ellison
Screven is an Oracle veteran who helped lead the company through all of the major industry changes of the past 30 years.
He admits that cloud market-leader Amazon had a head start, but says that there are benefits to following it.
"We definitely started after Amazon: The bad news is they have market share, the good news is we get to learn a lot," he told Business Insider in an interview in May 2019. "Mindshare, that may be their biggest asset. But there is no technology they have that is concerning to me at all."
As one of Oracle's top technologists, he's focused on making Oracle's cloud infrastructure more secure, with more sophisticated and efficient ways to manage data.
"We have hundreds of thousands of customers that store their most important data in Oracle databases," Screven said. "We could do a far better job for them than any other cloud provider. We are doing a far better job for them."




Clay Magouyrk leads cloud infrastructure engineering and played a key role in forging Oracle's new alliance with Zoom.



Title: Executive vice president, cloud infrastructure engineering
Reports to: Don Johnson
Magouyrk is another veteran of Amazon Web Services who joined the Oracle team in Seattle in 2014. 
He was Oracle's point-man in forging its new partnership with Zoom, which was seen as a major victory for Oracle.
"They needed capacity," Magouyrk told Business Insider last month "They reached out to us and we were like, 'Awesome, we can work with you.' Within a day, we had their application up and running."
Magouyrk was a founding team member of Oracle's cloud engineering development center in Seattle, which is spearheading the company's cloud infrastructure efforts.




Ariel Kelman left Amazon Web Services to become Oracle's chief marketing officer.



Title: Chief Marketing Officer
Reports to: Safra Catz
One of the biggest hurdles for Oracle is the public perception that it's a minor player in the cloud. In other words, it's a marketing problem.
This is where Kelman comes in. Before Oracle brought him on board in January 2020, Kelman led rival Amazon's cloud marketing efforts, and served as a marketing executive at Salesforce for six years before that.
"Ariel is a super smart hire for Oracle," analyst Ray Wang of Constellation Research told Business Insider. "He brings the cred in the market and understands how to counter all of Amazon's tactics and long-term strategy. He has the ear of Larry and Safra and is making progress with some great hires on his team."



Juergen Lindner left SAP to lead Oracle's software-as-a-service marketing strategy.



Title: Senior vice president, software-as-a-service marketing
Reports to: Dave Donatelli, executive vice president of the cloud business group
Lindner spent most of his career helping SAP outsell Oracle in the traditional business software market: both dominated teh market for software installed in private data centers.
He switched sides and roles four years ago to support Oracle's bid to become a stronger player in cloud software, also referred to as software-as-a-service, where businesses access applications through cloud platforms and pay via a subscription, usually based on the number of users granted access.
Lindner has said it became clear to him that Oracle had a better strategy for the cloud-software era.
"Oracle has architected a very sustainable cloud infrastructure and applications strategy," he told Business Insider last year.



Steve Daheb left Citrix to lead Oracle's cloud marketing strategy.



Title: Senior vice president, cloud go-to-market
Reports to: Judith Sim, chief of staff and senior vice president of marketing
Daheb joined Oracle in 2015 after serving as the chief marketing officer of Citrix, a cloud pioneer that first let businesses set up computing networks on web-based platforms instead of on-premise data centers, leading to dramatic IT cost savings.
Daheb witnessed the unexpected rise of Amazon in cloud computing, which began in the early : 2000s when the online retail giant realized it could make some extra money by giving businesses access to its massive but underutilized computing infrastructure, hosted from its data centers.
"Amazon had spare computing resources to rent out," he told Business Insider last year. "It's like, 'Hey, man, I got an extra room in the house during the summer when it's not spike retail time. There's nobody in there, so why don't I put this thing on Airbnb and see if anybody wants it?'"
Amazon Web Services has led the industry ever since.
Like others on the Oracle team, Daheb thinks the software giant's technology and track record of working with major players across industries will eventually propel it to the front of the cloud pack.
"There's a level of understanding we have and a level of empathy we have for enterprise users: We serve the major banks, we serve transportation, we serve healthcare," he said. "We brought this enterprise mentality to it."



Juan Loaiza, who has been with Oracle since 1988, is in charge of mission-critical database technologies.



Title: Executive vice president, mission-critical database technologies
Reports to: Larry Ellison
Loaiza is another Oracle veteran who has been with the company for more than 30 years and is currently focused on its bid to expand the reach of its flagship database product.
The tech giant's cloud-based automated data-management platform Autonomous Database uses machine learning to quickly repair and update itself.Loaiza has compared the status of this fairly new initiative to the development of the self-driving car:
"It took a long time to get to a point where we are now and say, 'The next step is a self-driving car,'" he told Business Insider last year. "It's got to be safe. It has to have seatbelts and airbags and a navigation system. All that stuff was necessary before you take it to the next stage."
The database is ready for that next stage.



Jason Williamson left Amazon to lead Oracle's outreach to startups.



Title: Vice president, Oracle for Startups
Reports to: Mamei Sun, Ellison's chief of staff
Startups have played an important role in the growth of cloud computing and Oracle has launched a big push to establish closer ties with these smaller companies, given that they could eventually become the biggest power players.
Williamson has been the company's point-man in this effort, as he develops ways to make Oracle's products and services more accessible to startups.
Williamson is another veteran of Amazon Web Services where he led the cloud giant's private-equity team before joining Oracle in 2017.




Evan Goldberg cofounded NetSuite, which is now part of Oracle.



Title: Executive vice president, NetSuite
Reports to: Safra Catz
Goldberg is part of the elite club of Oracle alums who went on to launch successful enterprise-software companies. (Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is perhaps the best-known.)
Goldberg left a long career at Oracle in the late 1990s to launch NetSuite, a cloud-based provider of financial- and accounting-management services. He was the chief technology officer alongside CEO Zach Nelson, another Oracle alum, and Ellison was actually one of their early backers.
Oracle acquired the company in 2016 and it now has more than 18,000 customers.



Steve Miranda has been with Oracle since 1992 and leads cloud-applications development.



Title: Executive vice president, applications product development
Reports to: Ellison
Miranda is an Oracle veteran in charge of different aspects of the company's cloud-software business, including product development and strategy.
This covers applications used for major business operations, like supply-chain management, human resources, and enterprise performance management.





* This article was originally published here

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