Oracle insiders say there’s a ‘culture of fear’ in a key cloud unit, and executives are leaving

Oracle Executive Vice President Clay Magouyrk
Oracle Executive Vice President Clay Magouyrk.

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.

Click here to read about what insiders said is a “culture of fear” inside Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, the unit that’s Oracle’s best hope to compete with Amazon in the cloud wars.

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Amazon names Adam Selipsky the incoming CEO of its $40 billion cloud business

Adam Selipsky Tableau CEO
Adam Selipsky is the incoming CEO of Amazon’s cloud business.

Amazon named Adam Selipsky, a former executive and the CEO of Tableau Software, as the incoming head of its cloud business.

The current Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy will replace Jeff Bezos as Amazon CEO later this year. Selipsky left Amazon in 2016 after 11 years to become CEO of Tableau, now owned by Salesforce.

Jassy announced Selipsky’s hiring in an email to employees on Tuesday. Selipsky will return to Amazon on May 17 and begin the transition before Jassy official takes over as Amazon CEO in the third quarter of the year.

AWS generates over $40 billion in annual revenue, and the de facto leader in cloud computing, with over 30% of market share.

Selipsky had long been rumored as a possible candidate to replace Jassy as AWS CEO. “He and Andy [Jassy] are tight,” one AWS insider told Insider last month.

In naming Selipsky, Amazon passed over several internal candidates including infrastructure boss Peter DeSantis, sales and marketing chief Matt Garman, and head of utility computing services Charlie Bell.

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Read Andy Jassy’s email to employees announcing the change:

“I want to share that Adam Selipsky will be the next CEO of AWS.

Adam is not a new face to AWS. Back in 2005, Adam was one of the first VPs we hired in AWS, and ran AWS’s Sales, Marketing, and Support for 11 years (as well as some other areas like our AWS Platform services for a spell). Adam then became the CEO of Tableau in 2016, and ran Tableau for the last 4.5 years. Tableau experienced significant success during Adam’s time as CEO-the value of the company quadrupled in just a few years, Tableau transitioned through a fundamental business model change from perpetual licenses to subscription licensing, and the company was eventually acquired by Salesforce in 2019 in one of the largest software acquisitions in history. Following the acquisition, Adam remained the CEO of Tableau and was a member of Salesforce’s Executive Leadership Team.

Adam brings strong judgment, customer obsession, team building, demand generation, and CEO experience to an already very strong AWS leadership team. And, having been in such a senior role at AWS for 11 years, he knows our culture and business well.

With a $51B revenue run rate that’s growing 28% YoY (these were the Q4 2020 numbers we last publicly shared), it’s easy to forget that AWS is still in the very early stages of what’s possible. Less than 5% of the global IT spend is in the cloud at this point. That’s going to substantially change in the coming years. We have a lot more to invent for customers, and we have a very strong leadership team and group of builders to go make it happen. Am excited for what lies ahead.


P.S. Adam will return to AWS on May 17. We will spend the subsequent several weeks transitioning together before making the change sometime in Q3.”

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