From a humble beginning to achieving the status of the world’s 4th billionaire, the journey of Lawrence Joseph Ellison is nothing short of incredible. Despite being dropped out of college not once, but twice, and having zero exposure to computer classes, he went on to establish Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL), which now stands as the third-largest software company in the world. On his 79th birthday today, let’s delve into some interesting yet less-known facts about Larry Ellison.
Date of Birth: August 17, 1944
Net Worth: $146.2 Billion (As of August 2023)
- Larry Ellison was born to a single Jewish mother in New York City. His biological father was a United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) pilot. At a tender nine months of age, Ellison faced a health setback when he contracted pneumonia. In a surprising twist, his mother made the difficult decision to entrust him to the care of her aunt and uncle for adoption. Surprisingly, he did not reconnect with his biological mother until he was 48.
- Ellison enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign as a premed student. However, he dropped out of the university without taking the final exams as his adoptive mother passed away. He then attended the University of Chicago for just one term, where he studied physics and mathematics, and got his first taste of computer design. However, he had never taken any computer science class in his life. During an interview, Ellison said, “I got a job working as a programmer; I was largely self-taught. I just picked up a book and started programming.”
- While working for Ampex Corporation in the early 1970s, Larry Ellison was inspired by an IBM scientist named Edgar F. Codd, who was conducting research on relational database systems titled “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks.” This led to the formation of the company, which later became Oracle.
- In 1977, Larry co-founded Software Development Laboratories along with his two colleagues, Ed Oates and Bob Miner. The first original version of the Oracle software was called Oracle V2. In 1982, the company officially became Oracle Systems Corporation.
- Despite being the industry leader in software today, Oracle Corporation went bankrupt in the 1990s, soon after going public in 1986, following a triumphant success of seven years after initiation. Oracle’s market valuation fell by four-fifths of its value owing to the company’s “up-front” marketing strategy.
- The Academy of Achievement, the Museum of Living History in Washington, inducted Ellison in the year 1997.
- Larry Ellison Salary: For nearly a decade, Oracle founder Larry Ellison topped the list of the highest-paid executives in public companies. In 2005, Ellison received a $975,000 salary, a $6,500,000 bonus, and other compensation of $955,100 from Oracle Corp. According to Forbes, he was the wealthiest Californian in 2006. In 2007, Ellison received a huge compensation of $61,180,524, including a base salary of $1,000,000, a cash bonus of $8,369,000, and options granted worth $50,087,100. In 2008, he received a total compensation of $84,598,700, which was made up of a base salary of $1,000,000, a cash bonus of $10,779,000, no stock grants, and options granted worth $71,372,700. Larry Ellison’s base salary was reportedly reduced to just $1 in fiscal 2010, down from $1 million the previous three years. The Wall Street Journal reported in July 2010 that Larry Ellison was the highest-paid executive in the past decade, with total compensation of US$1.84 billion.
- Apart from being a successful entrepreneur, Larry Ellison revealed that the purpose of starting Oracle was to create a work environment where one can enjoy working and not become rich and certainly not this rich he is today and in his words, it seems “Surreal.”
- Larry Ellison Stepped Down as Oracle CEO: On September 18, 2014, Ellison resigned from the position of Chief Executive Officer of Oracle Corporation. He now serves as Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer.
- Larry Ellison’s love for luxury superyachts: Oracle co-founder owned the Rising Sun, the world’s 12th largest 454-foot yacht, until he sold it to David Geffen for a whopping US$300 million in 2010. Ellison now owns a 288-foot yacht named Musashi which he bought in 2013. On September 25, 2013, his Oracle Team USA won the 34th America’s Cup by defeating the Emirates Team New Zealand.
- Larry Ellison is among the billionaires to sign The Giving Pledge devoting at least half of his affluence towards philanthropy. In 1998, The Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Centre was started following his donation of $5 million to the Lawrence J. Ellison Musculo-Skeletal Research Centre that took birth when Dr Michael W. Chapman, a highly skilled orthopaedic surgeon treated him to set right his elbow affected from the high-speed bicycle crash.
- In March 2018, Larry Ellison teamed up with Steve Jobs’s former doctor to launch his new business – Sensei – a consumer wellness company.
- Larry Ellison Personal life: Ellison has been married and divorced four times. He first married Adda Quinn in 1967, and the couple divorced in 1974. His second marriage to Nancy Wheeler Jenkins lasted only one year (1977-1978). The third and fourth marriages were with Barbara Boothe from 1983 to 1986, and Melanie Craft, from 2003 to 2010, respectively.
- With a fortune of 106 billion, Larry Ellison is now the 8th wealthiest person in the world and the 7th wealthiest person in the US.
- In June 2022, Larry Ellison bought a massive 22-acre property worth $173 million in Manalapan, Florida. It is the most expensive residential property purchase in Florida history. Larry bought this ocean-to-lake estate as well as a portion of nearby Bird Island from James Henry Clark, who had purchased it from the Ziff family.
- Ellison is also known for his significant ownership stake of 98% in Lanai, which ranks as the sixth-largest island within the Hawaiian Archipelago.
Defying his adoptive father’s label of ‘Good for nothing,’ Ellison not only disproved those words but also etched his name among the select individuals who make a lasting impact on the world. Describing his life as having “all of the disadvantages required for success,” Ellison’s journey serves as a testament to his resilience. His path stands as a source of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, showcasing that challenges can be stepping stones to greatness.
The article is a part of the B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from across Industries, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators, or renewed leaders who moved the industry with their exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayer, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, by following this link or subscribing to your daily newsletter.
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