Larry Ellison as CIO? Believe It!

By Doug Bartholomew  |  Posted 2006-06-14 Print this article Print

Former Oracle chief information officer David Thompson says his boss called all the I.T. shots.

NAPA, Calif. — And you thought you had it bad as the typical overworked, underbudgeted CIO. Take heart from David Thompson, executive vice president and CIO at Symantec, who related the following experience to attendees at the Ziff Davis Media CIO Summit here this week.

Before he became CIO at Symantec, Thompson, a tall, well-spoken career I.T. professional, had the not-always-rewarding experience of being CIO at Oracle.

Thompson said that in his current job, he routinely expects to take advantage of ways to harness information technology to advance the business. One way CIOs can spur a company's growth is "by leveraging the Internet to change the business model and move the business online," he said. "We as CIOs have a unique opportunity to influence the business."

Well, not always. When Thompson was CIO at Oracle, under chairman Larry Ellison—he of the take-no-prisoners style of management—it didn't always work that way.

"Larry is the CIO at Oracle," asserted Thompson, completely serious. "It's difficult to be in a situation where your boss wants to do your job."

Doug Bartholomew is a career journalist who has covered information technology for more than 15 years. A former senior editor at IndustryWeek and InformationWeek, his freelance features have appeared in New York magazine and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. He has a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University.

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