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Lawrence Joseph Ellison (born August 17, 1944) is an American businessman and investor who is the co-founder, executive chairman, chief technology officer (CTO) and former chief executive officer (CEO) of
Oracle Corporation Oracle Corporation is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational ...
. As of January 2022, he was listed by ''
Bloomberg Billionaires Index The Bloomberg Billionaires Index is a daily ranking of the world's richest people. The index debuted in March 2012 and tracks the net worth of the 500 wealthiest people on the planet. It draws information from "action in the stock market, economic i ...
'' as the ninth-wealthiest person in the United States and is the tenth-wealthiest in the world, with a fortune of $108 billion, increased from $57.3 billion in 2018. He is also the owner of the 43rd largest island in the United States,
Lanai Lanai ( haw, Lānai, , , also ,) is the sixth-largest of the Hawaiian Islands and the smallest publicly accessible inhabited island in the chain. It is colloquially known as the Pineapple Island because of its past as an island-wide pineapple ...

Lanai
in the
Hawaiian Islands The Hawaiian Islands ( haw, Mokupuni o Hawai‘i) are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and seamounts in the Pacific Ocean, North Pacific Ocean, extending some from the Hawaii (island), island o ...
with a population of just over 3200.


Early life and education

Larry Ellison was born in New York City, to an unwed
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...

Jewish
mother. His biological father was an Italian-American
United States Army Air Corps The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was the aerial warfare service component of the United States Army between 1926 and 1941. After World War I, as early aviation became an increasingly important part of modern warfare, a philosophical ...
pilot. After Ellison contracted
pneumonia Pneumonia is an inflammatory Inflammatory may refer to: * Inflammation, a biological response to harmful stimuli * The word ''inflammatory'' is also used to refer literally to fire and flammability, and figuratively in relation to comments t ...

pneumonia
at the age of nine months, his mother gave him to her aunt and uncle for adoption. He did not meet his biological mother again until he was 48. Ellison moved to Chicago's South Shore, then a middle-class neighborhood. He remembers his adoptive mother as warm and loving, in contrast to his austere, unsupportive, and often distant adoptive father, who had chosen the name Ellison to honor his point of entry into the United States,
Ellis Island Ellis Island is a federally-owned island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll A ...

Ellis Island
. Louis Ellison was a government employee who had made a small fortune in Chicago real estate, only to lose it during the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
. Although Ellison was raised in a
Reform Jewish Reform Judaism (also known as Liberal Judaism or Progressive Judaism) is a major Jewish denomination that emphasizes the evolving nature of the faith, the superiority of its ethical aspects to the ceremonial ones, and belief in a continuous rev ...
home by his adoptive parents, who attended synagogue regularly, he remained a religious skeptic. At age thirteen, Ellison refused to have a
bar mitzvah Bar mitzvah ( he, בַּר מִצְוָה) is a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by inter ...
celebration. Ellison states: "While I think I am religious in one sense, the particular dogmas of Judaism are not dogmas I subscribe to. I don't believe that they are real. They're interesting stories. They're interesting mythology, and I certainly respect people who believe these are literally true, but I don't. I see no evidence for this stuff." Ellison says that his fondness for Israel is not connected to religious sentiments, but rather due to the innovative spirit of Israelis in the technology sector. Ellison attended South Shore High School in Chicago and later was admitted to
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I, Illinois, or colloquially the University of Illinois or UIUC) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. ...
and was enrolled as a
premed Pre-medical (often referred to as pre-med) is an educational track that undergraduate Undergraduate education is education conducted after secondary education and prior to postgraduate education. It typically includes all postsecondary programs ...
student. At the university, he was named science student of the year. He withdrew without taking final exams after his sophomore year, because his adoptive mother had just died. After spending the summer of 1966 in California, he then attended the
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an abse ...
for one term, studying
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical scie ...

physics
and
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
. He did not take any exams, but he first encountered
computer design In computer engineering, computer architecture is a set of rules and methods that describe the functionality, organization, and implementation of computer systems. Some definitions of architecture define it as describing the capabilities and progra ...
there. In 1966, aged 22, he moved to
Berkeley, California Berkeley ( ) is a city on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay in northern Alameda County, California, Alameda County, California. It is named after the 18th-century Irish people, Irish bishop and philosopher George Berkeley. It borders the cit ...
.


Early career and Oracle

While working at
Ampex Ampex is an electronics company founded in 1944 by as a spin-off of Dalmo-Victor. The name AMPEX is a , created by its founder, which stands for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence.AbramsoThe History of television, 1942 to 2000– McFarland, ...
in the early 1970s, he became influenced by
Edgar F. Codd Edgar Frank "Ted" Codd (19 August 1923 – 18 April 2003) was an English computer scientist who, while working for IBM, invented the relational model for database A database is an organized collection of data Data are units of informat ...
's research on
relational database A relational database is a digital database In , a database is an organized collection of stored and accessed electronically from a . Where databases are more complex they are often developed using formal techniques. The (DBMS) is the tha ...
design for
IBM International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the C ...

IBM
. That led in 1977 to the formation of the company which later became Oracle. Oracle became a successful database vendor to mid- and low-range systems, later competing with
Sybase Sybase, Inc. was an enterprise software and services company that produced software to manage and analyze information in relational databases, with facilities located in California and Massachusetts. Sybase was acquired by SAP AG, SAP in 2010 ...
(created 1984) and
Microsoft SQL Server Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system A relational database is a digital database based on the relational model of data, as proposed by E. F. Codd in 1970. A software system used to maintain relational databases is a ...
(a port of Sybase created in 1989) which led to Ellison being listed by ''Forbes'' as one of the richest people in the world.


1977–1994

During the 1970s, after a brief stint at
Amdahl Corporation Amdahl Corporation was an information technology company which specialized in IBM mainframe-compatible computer products, some of which were regarded as supercomputers competing with those from Cray Research. Founded in 1970 by Gene Amdahl, a form ...
, Ellison began working for
Ampex Corporation Ampex is an United States, American electronics company founded in 1944 by Alexander M. Poniatoff as a spin-off of Dalmo-Victor. The name AMPEX is a portmanteau, created by its founder, which stands for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence.Abram ...
. His projects included a
database In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and sof ...

database
for the
CIA The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA; ), known informally as "The Agency" and "The Company", is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. ...

CIA
, which he named "Oracle". Ellison was inspired by a paper written by
Edgar F. Codd Edgar Frank "Ted" Codd (19 August 1923 – 18 April 2003) was an English computer scientist who, while working for IBM, invented the relational model for database A database is an organized collection of data Data are units of informat ...
on relational database systems called "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks". In 1977, he founded Software Development Laboratories (SDL) with two partners and an investment of $2,000; $1,200 of the money was his. In 1979, the company renamed itself Relational Software Inc. Ellison had heard about the
IBM System R IBM System R is a database In computing, a database is an organized collection of Data (computing), data stored and accessed electronically from a computer system. Where databases are more complex they are often developed using formal #Design a ...
database, also based on Codd's theories, and wanted Oracle to achieve compatibility with it, but IBM made this impossible by refusing to share System R's code. The initial release of the
Oracle Database Oracle Database (commonly referred to as Oracle DBMS or simply as Oracle) is a multi-model database management system In computing, a database is an organized collection of Data (computing), data stored and accessed electronically from a co ...
in 1979 was called Oracle version 2; there was no Oracle version 1. In 1983, the company officially became Oracle Systems Corporation after its flagship product. In 1990, Oracle laid off 10% of its workforce (about 400 people) because it was losing money. This crisis, which almost resulted in the company's bankruptcy, came about because of Oracle's "up-front" marketing strategy, in which sales people urged potential customers to buy the largest possible amount of software all at once. The sales people then booked the value of future license sales in the current quarter, thereby increasing their bonuses. This became a problem when the future sales subsequently failed to materialize. Oracle eventually had to restate its earnings twice, and had to settle
class-action A class action, also known as a class-action lawsuit, class suit, or representative action, is a type of lawsuit A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is f ...
lawsuits arising from its having overstated its earnings. Ellison would later say that Oracle had made "an incredible business mistake". Although IBM dominated the mainframe relational database market with its
DB2 Db2 is a family of data management products, including database servers, developed by IBM. They initially supported the relational model, but were extended to support object–relational features and non-relational structures like JSON and X ...
and SQL/DS database products, it delayed entering the market for a relational database on
Unix Unix (; trademarked as UNIX) is a family of multitasking, multiuser Multi-user software is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast t ...

Unix
and
Windows Microsoft Windows, commonly referred to as Windows, is a group of several proprietary {{Short pages monitor


Political involvement

Ellison was critical of National Security Agency, NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, saying that "Snowden had yet to identify a single person who had been 'wrongly injured' by the NSA's data collection". He has donated to both Democratic Party (United States), Democratic and Republican Party (United States), Republican politicians, and in late 2014 hosted Republican Senator Rand Paul at a fundraiser at his home. Ellison was one of the top donors to Conservative Solutions PAC, a super political action committee, PAC supporting Marco Rubio's 2016 presidential bid. As of February 2016, Ellison had given $4 million overall to the PAC. In 2020, Ellison allowed Donald Trump to have a fundraiser at his Rancho Mirage, California, Rancho Mirage estate, but Ellison was not present.


Recognition

In 1997, Ellison received the Golden Plate Award of the Academy of Achievement, American Academy of Achievement. In 2013, Ellison was inducted into the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame. In 2019, the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC honored Ellison with the first Rebels With A Cause Award in recognition of his generous support through the years.


See also

* Ellison Medical Foundation


References


Further reading

* Leibovich, Mark. ''The New Imperialists'' (Prentice Hall, 2002) pp 11–54
online
* * * *


External links



at
Oracle Corporation Oracle Corporation is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational ...

Profile
at
Forbes ''Forbes'' () is an American business magazine owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family The Forbes family is one of the Boston Brahmins—a wealthy extended American family long prominent in Boston, Massachusett ...

Forbes

Profile
at Bloomberg L.P.
Biography
at BBC News * * * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Ellison, Larry 1944 births University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign alumni University of Chicago alumni 2007 America's Cup sailors 2010 America's Cup sailors America's Cup American adoptees American aviators American billionaires American computer businesspeople American male sailors (sport) Jewish sailors (sport) American Ashkenazi Jews 20th-century American Jews American people of Italian descent American people of Russian-Jewish descent American technology chief executives American technology company founders Businesspeople from California Businesspeople from New York City Businesspeople in software Directors of Apple Inc. Giving Pledgers 21st-century philanthropists Jewish American philanthropists California Republicans Life extensionists Living people Oracle Corporation Oracle employees Oracle Racing sailors People from Rancho Mirage, California People from the Bronx People from Woodside, California Philanthropists from New York (state) SailGP Tesla, Inc. 21st-century American Jews