Safra A. Catz: “It is not the end of the world, it’s an opportunity”

Safra A. Catz has served as chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation since 2014 and a member of the company’s board of directors since 2001.

She is credited for having driven Oracle’s 2005 efforts to acquire software rival PeopleSoft in a $10.3 billion takeover.

Catz is also the company’s CFO, serving temporarily in that role from November 2005 to September 2008, and from April 2011 to the present. Mark Hurd joined her as co-president in 2010.

Prior to being named president, Catz held various other positions since starting at Oracle in 1999.

Catz, who was born in Israel, earned a law degree at University of Pennsylvania and worked on Wall Street for 14 years covering the software industry.

After the election of Donald Trump, Catz was one of several high-profile CEOs, including Tim Cook, Sheryl Sandberg and Jeff Bezos, invited to talk with the then president-elect about potentially taking up a position in the incoming administration. She was considered for the post of U.S. Trade Representative or Director of National Intelligence.

Safra A. Catz was the highest paid female CEO of any U.S. company as of April 2017, earning $40.9 million after a 23% drop in her total compensation relative to 2016.

She currently serves as a director of The Walt Disney Company and previously served as a director of HSBC Holdings plc. She was elected a Director of the Company in December 2017, effective February 1, 2018.

In March of 2021 Catz garned attention for her stock trading, for acquiring 2.25 million shares through the conversion of derivatives, before selling them on the open market at roughly double the price.

Catz has the challenging job of repositioning the database company as a titan amid fierce competition from the likes of AWS and Microsoft. While its cloud business is smaller than those rivals’, Oracle has been spending more money building expensive data centers to help power the fledging unit. Time will tell if the efforts pay off, but until then Oracle continues to cruise along in a rapidly changing industry.

Many cloud companies, and Oracle among them, enjoyed economic prosperity and growth during the pandemic period due to the rush of many companies in the world to the cloud.  

The phenomenon of digital transformation has led many companies to accelerate processes beyond the cloud and invest huge sums very quickly to be able to stay alive while many businesses have been shut down.

But in recent months, when the Covid-19 panic has calmed down and the global economic situation is uncertain, there is concern about the digital transformation coming to a halt, especially from entities that would prefer to do so at slower rates.

Catz is not afraid of such a stoppage. “I do not think there is or will be a halt in the digital transformation. Big companies are moving very slowly and they know they have to move forward. There are many companies today that understand that if they do not move forward fast their competitors will do so and they will be left behind. Industry companies move forward so they can have digital relationships with their customers.”

According to Catz, all the companies will eventually be in the cloud. “Everyone will go to the cloud, the only question is who they will go with. Every company has a different offer and every customer has different needs. Companies must move into the 21st century and everyone knows that.”

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