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Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd dies at 62

Mr Hurd (above) had been on medical leave since last month. "Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle," said Oracle founder and chairman Larry Ellison in a statement.

San Francisco

MARK Hurd, the co-CEO of software giant Oracle who had been on medical leave since last month, died last Friday at the age of 62.

The company said in September that Oracle founder and chairman Larry Ellison and co-CEO Safra Catz would share Mr Hurd's responsibilities while he was on leave. It was not immediately clear how Oracle's leadership structure would change in the wake of Mr Hurd's death.

"Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle," Mr Ellison said in a statement posted on Mr Hurd's personal website. Oracle declined to comment beyond the statement. The company did not disclose the details of why Mr Hurd went on medical leave, nor the cause of his death.

It's possible some shareholders might be critical that Oracle didn't disclose more information regarding the extent of Mr Hurd's illness, David Larcker, a Stanford University School of Business professor who specialises in issues of corporate governance, said in an email. But this is "a very hard governance problem, because the board has to balance the shareholder 'right to know' with the personal privacy issues," Prof Larcker said.

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Mr Hurd previously led Hewlett-Packard, including when the company's media leak investigation spiralled into a spying scandal in 2006. He stepped down from HP in 2010 amid allegations of sexual harassment and falsified expense reports. Mr Hurd denied the allegations at the time. The company said that its investigation ultimately cleared Mr Hurd of the sexual harassment charges but that he had violated HP's conduct standards.

Later that year, Mr Ellison named Mr Hurd and Ms Catz as co-presidents of Oracle. In 2014, when Mr Ellison stepped down as CEO, he named the pair to replace him. Mr Ellison described Mr Hurd in the statement last Friday as a close friend and trusted colleague.

Mr Hurd's death is the latest setback in what has been a difficult few years for Oracle. As the company transitions from traditional enterprise products to cloud computing, it has struggled to match competitors such as Amazon, Google and Salesforce. (Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

In July, the Pentagon issued a strong rebuke of the company, accusing it of using "poorly-informed and often manipulative speculation" in a dispute over a US$10 billion cloud-computing contract. A federal judge ruled against Oracle's attempt to stop the bid process. Oracle had argued that the contract should be broken into smaller contracts instead of lumped into one large procurement.

The contract was scheduled to be awarded in August but was delayed after Oracle, among others, complained. The Pentagon has not yet said when it will award the contract.

Mr Hurd's website says he grew up in New York City and Miami, and became a competitive tennis player in high school. He attended Baylor University on a tennis scholarship and graduated in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He later became a member of the university's board of regents.

In addition to leading HP and Oracle, Mr Hurd was previously CEO of NCR Corp, which makes ATMs and other business devices.

Mr Hurd is survived by his wife and two daughters. WP

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