- Current and former Oracle employees say there’s a “culture of fear” at its flagship cloud unit.
- Cloud boss Clay Magouyrk at times aims for results by “beating down” workers emotionally, they say.
- OCI, the cloud unit, has lost at least a dozen VPs since the start of 2020 and is facing lawsuits.
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Clay Magouyrk, a former Amazon software engineer who joined Oracle as an individual contributor in 2014, quickly impressed Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison and CEO Safra Catz with his ability to deliver results quickly.
That’s led to a rapid ascent through the ranks: Magouyrk was last year appointed to take over Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, the company’s best hope to take on Amazon in the cloud wars – a unit of over 10,000 employees that people close to the company say brings in about $1 billion a year in revenue.
But the reign of Magouyrk has raised questions about Oracle’s culture. Magouyrk’s leadership style was cited in a pair of lawsuits filed by former vice presidents against the company and an executive, including an allegation that he once told an executive that his actions were “f—ing stupid” in front of all of OCI’s senior leaders. One of the former vice presidents who sued Oracle died by suicide in April. Oracle is seeking to force both cases into private arbitration.
Oracle insiders who spoke with Insider said the comments alleged in the lawsuit were generally “tame” compared with others Magouyrk had made. One former employee said that Magouyrk was “abusive to people in large group settings. It was never, ‘Stay after the meeting and let’s have a conversation.’ If he was upset, he would insult you personally and professionally.”
“He’d drive grown men to tears, and then just be like, ‘Jesus f—ing Christ,'” that former employee said.
All told, a dozen current and former Oracle employees and executives said there was what one person described as a “culture of fear” at OCI, telling Insider that Magouyrk is known for trying to get results by “beating down” employees emotionally. One employee said they were told during the interview process that they were going to want a “fear buddy” to turn to when they inevitably thought they were going to get fired.
They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were concerned speaking out might negatively affect their careers. Oracle declined to comment on Magouyrk’s management style or OCI’s culture.