Larry Ellison, CTO, Oracle Corporation

5. Larry EllisonLarry Ellison, born in 1945, is the Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Oracle Corporation. He was CEO from 1977, when he founded the company, until September 2014.

In 2012, Ellison made a real estate deal in the Hawaiian island of Lanai, which reportedly cost $300 million. This deal effectively gave him 87,000 of the islands’ 90,000 acres. In the island’s only town, Lanai City, where all 3,000 of its residents live, he owns a third of all their houses and apartments.

Even though he is now one of the world’s richest man, he has a rags to riches story. He was born on August 17, 1944 in the Bronx, New York. He had a single mother and when he was only nine months old he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle in the South Side of Chicago.

He didn’t discover that his parents were not his biological ones until he was 12 and did not meet his biological mother until he was 48. He never knew the identity of his father. As a teenager, he was a rebellious child and he often argued with his adoptive father, who also would tell him that he would never amount to anything. Perhaps that encouraged him even more to attain the level of wealth and success he has today.

He enrolled at the University of Illinois and was named science student of the year in his freshman year. At the end of his sophomore year, his adoptive mother died and Ellison dropped out of school. Later he headed to Berkeley, California with little money and he worked several small jobs until he landed a position as a programmer at Ampex. There he helped develop the first IBM compatible mainframe system.

In 1977, Ellison and two of his Ampex co-workers started their own company named Software Development Labs (SDL) with Ellison serving as the company’s CEO. The company had won a contract to develop a relational database management system for the CIA codenamed “Oracle”.

The company would later develop the system for commercial use and in 1981, IBM chose to use the Oracle system to run its mainframes doubling its sales for the next seven years.

SDL would later be renamed the Oracle corporation which today has a market capital of $109 billion. The Oracle database is now one of the most popular databases ever sold and it helped make Ellison the best paid CEO in the world. Oracle database is in use by most of the world’s biggest companies and is used almost every time you use your credit card, book an airline ticket or get prescription medicine.

Ellison is also a philanthropist and has made efforts to aid medical research and green energy, but doesn’t talk much about his philanthropic efforts.

Some of his hobbies include racing sailboats, flying planes and he plays tennis and guitar.


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