Despite her high-profile post—co-president and CFO of business-software company Oracle Corp.—very little has been written about Safra Catz except that she prefers not to be written about. While Forbes named Catz to its annual list of Most Powerful Women, one report states, “Catz …prefers to leave the media spotlight to her boss”—scene-stealing CEO Larry Ellison.
Despite her obvious discomfort with the limelight, Catz’s influence at Oracle is undeniable. A former investment banker who ran Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc.’s software business before joining Oracle as Senior Vice President in 1999, Catz drove the $10.6 billion hostile takeover of PeopleSoft Inc. The deal vaulted Oracle to second in the business management software market behind SAP AG. And Oracle is still growing its market share, including such mammoth acquisitions as its 2005 $5.85 billion purchase of rival Siebel Systems Inc.
Promoted to co-president in 2004 and adding the title of CFO in 2006, Catz honed her skills restructuring Oracle itself. She put an end to the company’s free-spending ways after the technology boom ended, and the company has prospered. Operating profits were 40 percent of revenue in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2006, up from 21 percent during 1999.
Catz hinted at her operating style in 2006, in answer to a question about the lack of women in technology after an appearance at the Women’s High-Tech Coalition, a Silicon Valley group. “You have to be better,” she said. “You have got to work harder, work longer, be louder.”