Larry Ellison was the best paid CEO in the world over the course of the past decade according to the Wall Street Journal.  His total compensation from Oracle for the decade was estimated at $1.84 billion including the value of stock, options and everything else.  Like most Americans, I am appalled at what some CEO’s are paid, especially the ones that run the financial institutions that nearly ruined everything for all of us.  In Ellison’s case, I think the other stockholders (Ellison himself owns the biggest single chunk) appear to have made a nice return on their investment.  Ellison hardly needed more money, but he earned it none-the-less. 

It made no sense to me five years ago when Oracle bought PeopleSoft.  I was wrong.  Other acquisitions along the way seemed illogical or overpriced when they occurred because the sophisticated strategy that Oracle was following only became apparent over time.  The net effect of all these seemingly unusual moves made Oracle into a much stronger and more valuable company. 

Ellison now has a strong and stable management team behind him – something that was not always the case in the past.  Still, credit for Oracle’s outstanding overall results over the decade has to go largely to the boss.  He took huge chances and made them pay off.  Unlike so many other CEOs, the bets he placed put much of his own personal fortune at risk.  By all accounts, he was the one that made the big and tough calls along the way. 

All of the other major IT vendors including Microsoft, IBM, SAP, and HP struggled at times during the past decade.  Oracle has significantly gained market share and influence relative to all of them during that period. 

I have no idea what Ellison will do with all the extra money that Oracle’s success is bringing but I do feel that in his case he earned it.