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John Fowler survives latest chapter of Oracle's Game of Thrones

He will report to Ellison, focus on engineering

Lord Tywin Lannister
Is that you, Larry ... or Tywin?

The confusion over whether John Fowler will remain at Oracle, now that incomer David Donatelli has an executive vice-president role that includes Fowler's responsibilities, is over. Fowler is staying.

Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger has told The Reg "with John's continued focus on engineering and with the addition of Dave, Oracle has the best leadership team to win in systems."

We've overheard that the head honchos in Oracle engineering are thrilled to have Donatelli join the team. Fowler is as busy as ever, and has no worries about his future at Big Red. Everyone there is united in the common task of having Oracle succeed in its systems hardware and allied software, and unconcerned with trivia such as overlapping job descriptions, we're told.

The only people concerned about the situation are pedantic Oracle watchers – like me.

Our understanding is that ex-HP executive veep Donatelli now reports to Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd, who was CEO at HP when Donatelli was there. The two former HPers are reunited.

Fowler though, does not report to Hurd nor to Donatelli; instead he reports directly to Larry Ellison – Oracle's CTO, exec chairman and founder.

Ellison famously relinquished his CEO role to Hurd and CFO Safra Catz, while continuing to oversee hardware and software engineering. Fowler reporting to Ellison seems logical whereas Donatelli reporting to Hurd, who has no engineering responsibility*, now seems odd.

Hurd'n'Catz share the Oracle CEO role's responsibilities, which has left us Oracle watchers wondering how that arrangement will work out when hard decisions need to be made.

Suppose, for example, the two Oracle co-CEOs jointly decide they need a new CTO and fire Ellison? Yeah right.

In the Oracle Game of Thrones, the Hand of the King – Ellison – is effectively more powerful than the King and Queen put together. Although thinking of Catz as Cersei and Hurd as Robert Baratheon strains credibility just a little. However, seeing Ellison as Tywin Lannister feels just so right. Just don't let dwarfs carrying crossbows into your restroom, Larry. ®

* Mark Hurd's role is to oversee "the corporate direction and strategy for Oracle's global field operations, including sales, support, consulting, marketing, and alliances and channels."

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