Mark Hurd, CEO of the Oracle Corporation kicked off the Hampton Roads Chamber’s Leadership Luncheon Series Wednesday at the Westin in Virginia Beach. His remarks centered on the accelerated rate of change in the economy over the last few decades and how it has affected the business community and the leadership of large companies. "Eighty-eight percent of Fortune 500 companies have disappeared since 1995," said Hurd, "the speed of change in the economy is accelerating and information technology is changing dramatically."
"The average tenure of a CEO is 4.5 years," said Hurd, who has been the CEO of Oracle since 2010, "often the job gets on top of them before they get on top of the job." Hurd recounted how a CEO's main job is grow the business they lead and that occurs by one of two ways: either they gain shares of their market industry, or they lower their spending. In the past, IT has been a large expenditure for businesses. "Up to 80 percent of a corporation's IT budget is spent on maintenance," said Hurd "switching to a cloud model will mostly reduce IT budgets by 30 percent."
Cloud business is growing quickly and this change will likely have major impacts on the way IT companies do business. Hurd credits Oracle's strategic thought and investment in research and development with keeping them ahead of the curve. "We had to invest like crazy because this is a fight for the next 20 years of IT," said Hurd, "we've invested to be ready to drive this change. "
At the end of his presentation, Hurd answered questions from the audience. When asked for the keys to success as a CEO, Hurd recounted his three-point plan: having a clear strategy for what the company is trying to accomplish over the next 4-5 years, having the operational ability to execute that strategy, and finding and retaining the best employees. That last point was especially interesting to the fifty Old Dominion University Strome College of Business students in attendance. Hurd explained how the Oracle Corporation recently started recruiting employees straight out of college, something that hasn't typically been done in the world of information technology. "It's counter to our industry," said Hurd, "but I think it's important to build the best workforce in the world from within."
Though Oracle isn't currently scoping the halls of ODU for students, the company does have one local tie. A few weeks ago the Oracle Team USA's AC72 Catamaran sailing ship was donated to The Mariners' Museum and Park where it will be displayed in the museum's great hall beginning in May. Significant since this boat won the 2013 World Cup.
Hampton Roads Chamber President and CEO, Bryan K. Stephens, said they were proud to present Mark Hurd as part of their 2017 Chamber Leadership Series stating afterward, “His presentation was of great interest to our business community.” Paul Seifert, Executive Vice President of Mythics Federal Government Sales and Series Gold Sponsor said "it was an honor to hear directly from Mark about the insight he has in his business today and long term how he anticipates the cloud model will affect the IT market."
(Pictured here: Taylor Harrell, Executive Vice President of Southern Bank, series presenting sponsor; Mark Hurd, CEO of Oracle; Bryan Stephens, CEO & President Hampton Roads Chamber)