Prince Amir Al Saud

Biographies of Larry Ellison & Bill McDermott- "Are leaders born or made

Biographies of Larry Ellison & Bill McDermott- "Are leaders born or made

The lives of these two software stalwarts corroborate the age-old concept that leaders are born. They possess inherent and inborn qualities that make them stand out in the world firmament. They make a mark by dint of their sheer talent without making any kind of fuss for help or support. It is their natural instincts that take them along the right path, and make them innovative. Leading by example, and optimizing the use of available resources are the two essentials making one a leader. It was not circumstances that led them to become leaders, but their natural talent and instincts. Thus, leaders are born, not made.


Lawrence Joseph “Larry” Ellison, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Oracle Corporation, was born on 17th August 1944 in New York, United States. He had a modest family background, and rose to the pinnacle of glory by becoming the CEO of the enterprise software company Oracle. Not only that; he had been adjudged the third wealthiest person in the U.S. in the year 2013. He is a multi-talented person having myriads of interests other than his roles in and responsibilities for the business enterprise. He not only pursued ardently several vocations such as yachting and piloting but also excelled in them.

On the other hand is the charismatic personality of Bill McDermott, co-CEO, SAP, who like Larry Ellison comes from an utterly modest background. By the age of 16 Bill was an entrepreneur, and it shows the spark he had in him. Starting his career as an employee of a restaurant with a job profile of clearing away dishes, setting tables and assisting servers, and next assignment as an assistant in a grocery shop, he had the meteoric rise to the coveted position of co-CEO of SAP by dint of seer business acumen. He was born on 18th August 1961 in New York, United States, like Larry, and almost seventeen years younger to him. Both Larry and McDermott had a modest family background, but achieved name and fame for themselves by seer application of talent which both possessed with negligible support from family and friends.

Early Life and Education

Born to an unwed Jewish mother and an Italian father working as a pilot with the U.S. Air Force, Larry Ellison was adopted by his mother’s uncle and aunt at a very tender age. His adoptive mother was kind hearted, warm, and loving contrary to the adoptive father Louis Ellison who picked the surname Ellison to get entry into Ellis Island, United States, was miserly and unsupportive. Louis Ellison acquired a small fortune which he lost during the period of Great Depression. Larry spent most part of his childhood days in South Shore area of Chicago which was a middle class neighborhood inhabited predominantly by Jewish settlers.

Though his adoptive parents were highly religious and devout, and who looked after him and brought him up, he failed to grow as an ardent follower of Jewish religion with all its dogmas. He considered himself religious, but dissociated himself with certain hearsays and beliefs that according to him could not be genuine. He did not go through the customary, traditional, Jewish ritual called bar mitzvah which is celebrated on coming of age of a son. However, he was a staunch supporter of Israel not for it being a Jewish state, but for the spirit of innovation of the people of that country in the field of technology.

Larry has been brilliant but careless in studies. It was in 1958 that he obtained his degree in graduation from Chicago’s Eugene Field elementary school, and also joined Sullivan High School in 1959. Due to the sad demise of his adoptive mother he abandoned his studies in the University of Illinois which existed at Urbana-Champaign after second year, and did not appear at final examinations. He enjoyed the following summer of Northern California, and then took up a course at the University of Chicago where he lasted just for one term.

Bill McDermott, similarly, had a humble beginning so far as his early days are concerned. He lived with his parents in Amityville in close proximity of Great South Bay, and the area boasted of several canals that used to flood houses including that of McDermott. He had to wade through water to attend the interview for a job with Xerox.

McDermott is an MBA in Business Management which he obtained from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management under Northwestern University. He also underwent Executive Development Program successfully from Wharton School under the University of Pennsylvania, and it was from Dowling College that he obtained bachelor’s degree in Business Management.


The Spark

Ellison had a short stint with Amdahl Corporation, before he joined Ampex Corporation in 1970s. One of projects handled by him included creation of a database for CIA. He named this database Oracle. A treatise by Edgar F Codd on “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks” provided him the necessary inspiration. He laid the foundation of Software Development Laboratories abbreviated as SDL as a partner among three with an initial capital of $2000 out of which his contribution was $1200. The company was rechristened as Relational Software Inc. in 1979, and finally as Oracle Systems Corporation taking a cue from its Oracle database in 1982. Ellison was aware of the database of IBM System R which also had its root in Codd’s theories, desired to achieve Oracle’s compatibility with that system. However, it was not possible without IBM sharing the code of R systems. The first release of Oracle was named Oracle 2 without any Oracle 1.

Oracle retrenched 10% of its employees to arrest the loss in the year 1990. It was Oracle’s upfront strategy of marketing which led it to the financial crisis which amounted almost to bankruptcy as this strategy spurred consumers to buy large amount of software at one go. With sales staff booking future sales in the current quarter the company was up for big upheavals as there were no subsequent sales as per the bookings. It had to restate its figures of earnings, and had to face legal action for over stating earnings.

IBM played a dominant role in the market of mainframe relational database, but delayed its entry into the market of relational database on such operating systems as Windows and UNIX. It facilitated Oracle, Sybase, Informix and Microsoft to capture microcomputers and mid-range systems.

It was at this juncture that Oracle lagged behind Sybase which had been fastest developing database company between 1990 and 1993. However, Sybase met its waterloo in the mania of merger. By 1994, Informix left behind Sybase, and rose to become formidable rival to Oracle. The intense rivalry between Ellison and Phil White, CEO Informix, had been the front page news continuously for three consecutive years. Ellison became the director of Apple computer in 1997 and which he quit in 2002.

As of 2005, Ellison received $975000 as salary, $6500000 as bonus, and $955100 as other compensations. The figures rose consistently in subsequent years and by May 2009, the figure touched 56.8 million marks. No wonder, Forbes rated him as the richest of Californians. By March2010, Larry was adjudged the sixth richest person of the world, and the third richest in America; his net worth touching $28 billion. He was declared highest paid executive of the last decade in July 2010. He was ranked fifth in the world in terms of riches in September, 2011, and the richest U.S. citizen having a net worth of $36.5 billion. In September 2012, he, with a net worth of $44 billion, trailed only Bill Gates and Warren Buffet as the richest citizen of the U.S. He was paid $94.6 million in 2013.

The career of Bill McDermott has had a similar meteoric rise from a helper in an Italian restaurant at 16 years of age to an entrepreneur as an owner of a deli where he first exhibited his business acumen and insight into business planning. He managed to hoodwink competitors at this tender age with deft understanding of consumer behavior. He took into account needs of different segment of society such as blue collar job holders, kids, workers, and the likes. He did not use the age old cliché of asking customers what else he wanted, and substituted it with what else he could get for them. It shows his deep understanding of consumer psyche at that young age.

He took the first big jump in his career when he joined Xerox in 1983 as a professional in the sales department, and by the age of 37, he became the youngest president as well as corporate officer of the company. Later, by 2002, he was in SAP, and creating history for himself and that of the company.

He believed in himself, and took criticisms of others in right perspective and ignored them. He took risks that paid rich dividends. He showed early signs of entrepreneurship when he risked $7000 to purchase the deli which he ran successfully. He took recourse to good services to succeed, and believed in building business niche by niche. He intended to look at, and do, things differently. That is why; he rose to occupy the coveted position of Co-Chief Executive Officer, Member of Global Managing Board, and Member of the Executive Board, President of Global Field Operations, and Chief Executive Officer of Global field Operations of SAP AG. He is actively associated with 25 board members across three different establishments in eight industries of various kinds. At an age of 51 years, his total compensation for the fiscal year 2012 has been estimated as €8,856,800.

William R. McDermott, popularly known as Bill, has been SAP as Co-Chief Executive Officer with effect from 7th February 2010, Chief Executive Officer and Member of Executive Board of SAP Ag since July, 2008. He has been serving as Co-Chief Executive Officer, Chief Executive Officer and President of SAP America Inc which is a SAP Labs LLC unit subsidiary till July 2008. He also donned the post of Corporate Officer of SAP from April, 2007. He manages strategic business activities of SAP in America and Canada. He provides direction to over 5000 employees with respect to needs of consumers. He has won many awards and accolades, and widely held in high esteem for getting best out of employees in terms of performance. During his first year with SAP, he led the organization to constant increase in market share for all four quarters, and increases in revenue generation. He was responsible for customer as well as employee satisfaction.

After his stint with Xerox for seventeen long years where he started his career in sales division and became its Corporate Officer and Divisional President, Bill was associated with Siebel Systems as Executive President and promoted worldwide sales, and looked after field operations and global sales between 2001 and 2002. He served as President of Gartner Inc from the year 2000 to 2001. Since March 2004, he has been a serving director, PAETEC Holding Corp and that of PAETEC communications since 2004. An independent Director of Ansys Inc. with effect from July 2007, he has been serving as Director of ‘Under Armour’ from August 2005. He also performs as a Board of Director for welfare-to-work Partnership based in the U.S., and promoting career opportunities. Bill is a member of the Enterprise Software Roundtable, Business Roundtable, KIIP School National Advisory Board, and the Advisory Board for Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Recipient of the nation’s highest award for performance in business Baldrige Award, he was voted to the Dowling College Board of Trustees, and was also accorded the status of Alumnus by Dowling College for 2003 which is presented annually by the President of the U.S. for outstanding achievements in the fields of strategic planning, leadership, information and analysis, customer and market focus, business results and process management.

Other Interests

Bill McDermott is widely acknowledged as an active civic leader and espouser of social responsibilities in businesses. As early as 2005, he has been an elected member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a federation boasting three million companies and organizations as its members which makes it the world’s largest business federation. He was also elected to the Chamber Foundation Board. He was acknowledged as one among ten Most Influential People in Finance of Treasury and Risk Management in June 2005. He was declared as the winner of Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2005 Awards in Applied Technology constituted by Ernst & Young. He has been a charter member of advisory council for the Hands on Network Organization, a conglomeration of voluntary organizations in China, the Philippines and America which is engaged in the development of entrepreneurial strategies to narrowing the gap between community needs and resources 

Larry Ellison like Bill McDermott has varied interests, and is engaged in myriads of pursuits including yachting, piloting, donating, and many more. He led the foundation of BMW Oracle Racing which became Challenger of Record on Golden Gate Yacht Club of San Francisco for the year 2007 America’s Cup till its elimination in 2007 in the semifinals. The yacht USA 17 of Ellison had the distinction of winning the second race of the 33rd America’s Cup on 14th February 2010, which had won the first race two days ago. It had been a historic victory as Ellison with his BMW Oracle team came to be accorded as first challenger to have won “deed of gift” match. Ellison participated as a crew member in the second race and brought back the Cup to the U.S. after 1995. He had to wage legal battle earlier against Ernesto Bertarelli, one of the richest in the world, who wanted his way in organizing 33rd America Cup after its team victory in 2007. It was in 2010, that he relinquished his ownership of the eighth largest yacht of the world called Rising Sun. He promoted music and film after disposing off the remaining shares in the yacht. On 25th September 2013, the Oracle Team USA of Larry Ellison won 34th America Cup defeating the Emirates Team New Zealand in San Francisco, California.

He is also a pilot with license, and owns a number of aircrafts. He was indicted once for violating late night takeoff and landing of a plane weighing over 75000 pounds. He also fought a legal battle with airport authorities with respect to the weight of his aircrafts and logs, and the verdict of the case came in favor of Ellison and his contentions. He has in his aircraft entourage two military jets called SIAI-Marchetti S.211, an aircraft designed in Italy used for training purposes, and a MIG-29 which being decommissioned the U.S. government refused its import.

He is avidly passionate for homes, and owns several palatial and beautiful dwellings. His estate in Woodside, California, is estimated to be of $110, designed in the Japanese architecture, and having a lake measuring 2.3 acres built entirely by men, and a seismic retrofit. He acquired over twelve different properties between 2004 and 2005 located at Malibu, California, that cost him around $180 million. He invested $65 million in the acquisition of five contiguous lots at Carbon Beach of Malibu, and this transaction created a record in the history of property acquisition in the U.S. The cost of his entertainment system was $1 million, and it comprised a video projector of rock-concert size at one side of a swimming pool which has been drained by the use of a gaping hole as a big subwoofer.

Ellison purchased another palatial building called Aster’s Beechwood Mansion which had been previous summer resort of famous Astor family at a cost of $10.5 million, existing at Newport, Rhode Island. He further acquired Porcupine Creek Estate with an area of 249 acres and a golf course for personal use in Rancho Mirage, at a cost of $42.9 million. In June 2012, Neil Abercrombie, Governor of Hawaii, declared Ellison‘s intention of purchasing Lanai, 98% of which is already in the ownership of him.

Talking about his benevolence, he donated $100 million to his charitable institution while settling an insider trading legal case. He donated liberally to Stanford University, and it was viewed with skepticism due to the evaluation of Oracle performed by two professors of this institution. After the 9/11 attacks, Larry offered to donate the federal government software designed to help in the creation of some kind of database for identification, and issuance of ID cards. As per the records with Forbes in 2004, Ellison made total donations to the tune of $151092103 which roughly amounted to 1% of his personal assets. He withdrew his plan to donate Harvard University due to the departure of Lawrence Summers, the former President. Larry pledged a sum of $5000 for the fortification of unfortified Sderot, the community center, against rocket attacks. He once spoke about his donations that he claimed and have been made secretly due to his belief that such acts were private and personal matters.

Like is professional life, his personal life has been full of upheavals. There has been nothing lull in his life. He is a proud owner of several quality and luxurious cars such as Audi R8, McLaren F1. Acura NSX is his favorite car which he uses to gift every year during the production of this car. He is also said to own a Lexus LFA and a Lexus LS600hL.

As for his personal life, he married four times and divorced all the four women. He first married Adda Quinn in 1967 and divorced her in 1974. He re-married in 1977 Nancy Wheeler to divorce a year later. He again tied the knot with Barbara Boothe in 1983 to divorce her in 1986. He married the fourth time in 2003 with a romance novelist named Melanie Craft in 2003, and the relationship lasted till 2010. He also acted in a movie called Iron Man, bought 50% share of the Tennis Tournament BNP Paribas. Thus, Larry Ellison has been the lord of a multifaceted personality who has deep and varied interest in many aspects of life.

He possesses strong views with respect to employees whom he considers as the cornerstone of an enterprise. The concept has been termed as human capital management, and like all other successful entrepreneurs, Ellison and supported them the most. Once he said Oracle to be a bunch of people with ideas in their heads, and those ideas proved successful in the form of developing a database which worked properly. He opined taking care of employees to be very important and visible. Ellison is passing on instructions to chief of human resource based on these concepts.


By Ellison

"While I think I am religious in one sense, the particular dogmas of Judaism are not dogmas I subscribe to. I don't believe that they are real. They're interesting stories. They're interesting mythology, and I certainly respect people who believe these are literally true, but I don't. I see no evidence for this stuff."

“It’s all about people,” Ellison told attendees at Oracle CloudWorld in San Francisco on January 29. “Taking care of your employees is extremely important, and very, very visible.”

“What is Oracle? A bunch of people,” Ellison says. “And all of our products were just ideas in the heads of those people—ideas that people typed into a computer, tested, and that turned out to be the best idea for a database or for a programming language. I don’t think it’s very different whether you’re a technology company or a law firm or a retailer.”

“I would say it’s simply the difference between winning and losing,” says Ellison.

"To the best of our knowledge, an Oracle database hasn't been broken into for a couple of decades by anybody," Ellison said. "It's so secure, there are people that complain," he added.


By Bill McDermott

"I've always been a hustler. By the time I was 16, I was stocking shelves at one of the finest supermarkets in town, working as a busboy at a local Italian restaurant, doing odd jobs for the city, while still attending high school. I guess you could say I was a pretty busy kid.”

"When the customer made an order, we didn't say: "Anything else?" We said: "What else can I get for you?"

The day of my interview, my father drove me to the Long Island Rail Road. As I got out of the car, I said to him, “I guarantee you I’m coming home tonight with my employee badge from Xerox in my pocket.”

To which I replied: “I don’t think you completely understand the situation, sir. I’ve never broken a promise to my dad in 21 years, and I can’t start today. I guaranteed him I’d have my employee badge in my pocket beforeI got home to Amityville tonight.”

“I’m very committed to Germany, and I know a little about its heritage and culture and the brilliant engineers we have in Germany and the great workforce,” McDermott said, adding he doesn’t “have to make it home every weekend.”


Career Highlights

Larry Ellison

He was born on 17th August 1944; Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.

He resides at Woodside, California, U.S.A.

By nationality he is an American.

His Alma Mater is University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (drop out), and University of Chicago (drop out)

He is employed as CEO, Oracle Corporation which he also founded.

Annual salary is $41 billion.

He has four spouses whom he divorced namely Nancy Wheeler Jenkins, Melanie Craft, Adda Quinn, and Barbara Boothe.

He has two children namely Megan Ellison and David Ellison and from his last wife.

He received several awards and accolades in his professional career so far.

His Oracle team in which he also was a member won 33rd America Cup in 2010, and brought back the cup to the country after the lapse of 17 years.

His team again won the coveted cup in 2013.


Bill McDermott

•   He was born on 18th August 1961, in New York, U.S.A.

•   He got his education at Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

•   He served Xerox for 17 years and rose to become corporate officer and division president.

•   He joined SAP in 2002 as CEO, SAP America, and soon was entrusted with the responsibilities of Asia Pacific and South America, and then Global Field Operations under which he had to oversee entire revenues of the company.

•   In 2008, he was elevated as a member of SAP executive Board.

•   In February 2010 he rose to the coveted post of co-CEO of SAP AG.

•   In May 2014, he is slated to become the sole CEO of SAP AG.

•   His annual salary was €8,856,800 in 2012.

•   He is actively connected with 25 organizations as board member across eight industries of different kinds.

•   He got Baldrige Award which is presented by the President of America for business excellence in several areas.

•   He was recognized along with his co-CEO for his leadership qualities by several organizations, and was ranked #2 on’s 50 highest rated CEOs.

•   He was also selected to be one among Irish America magazine’s 2012 Business 100 to acknowledge his outstanding leadership in business.

•   He was bestowed with 2012 Promise Award.


Similarities between Larry Ellison and Bill McDermott

Mr. Larry Ellison, CEO and Founder of the world’s largest business software company, is world’s one of the richest persons alive, and also one of the most flamboyant and outspoken. A personality with cavalier business acumen, he knows to dress for occasions. His tailor made Italian shirts and suits make him look like a born billionaire. Born to an unwed 19 year old mother, he was just nine months, when his mother gave him to be adopted by her aunt and uncle living in Chicago. His concept of living life has been permeated by a simple approach, “Buy the best, without compromise”.

On the other hand, William R. McDermott, also called Bill, has been a Co-Chief Executive Officer of SAP AG with effect from February 7, 2010. He works as the Chief Executive Officer of Global Field Operations at SAP AG and a Member of its Executive Board from 1st July 2008. He has been serving as the Co-Chief Executive Officer of SAP America Inc. He had also been the Chief Executive Officer and President at SAP America Inc., which has been a subsidiary of SAP Labs, LLC till July 2008. He has served various organizations in different capacities. He has been managing strategic business activities of SAP in Canada and the United States, and directing over 5,000 employees to serve requirements of consumers. One thing more, he is slated to become the sole or only Chief Executive Officer of SAP AG by May 2014. 

Thus, both exhibited leadership qualities, and achieved name and fame for themselves.

Both Larry and Bill had modest background, and showed skills of entrepreneurship and professionalism since their childhood. While one was an adopted child in a middle class family, the other had a similar background, and had to earn for himself very early in his career. While Larry was brought up in a Jewish Reform home by his adoptive parents, Bill had to wade through water to come out of his house to appear at the interview taken by Xerox. Bill had been working as a helper at a mall and later at a grocery shop which became his first personal acquisition. Both rose to the pinnacle of glory justifying the cliché ‘rags to riches’. Another similarity refers to their playing multi-roles besides being at the helm of affairs of one of world’s largest software companies. The capacity to lead from the front has been the cornerstone of their successful professional career. Both valued the contributions of workforce, and held employees in high esteem. Larry once described Oracle a bunch of employees with differing ideas in their heads. It was those ideas on which organizations proceeded and incidentally became successful

Bill’s assertion to his father just before ensuing interview at Xerox that he was confident of finishing the interview with an employee badge of that company shows his ardent self-belief and determination. That he eventually emergedfrom the interviewvictorious shows his deep conviction. Larry also had immense self-belief and conviction that are reflected in his outstanding achievements as a professional. Talking about their career graph, one finds steady rise. Both never looked back once they launched their career, and gradually attained greater heights. Both excelled in software domain, and many times faced intense rivalry between them on professional level.


Both Larry and Bill, natives of the U.S. and born in the month of August, came from humble backgrounds, showed early spark and brilliance, fought their ways to glory, and came to the helm of affairs in world renowned software companies. They proved their mettle, and took their respective organization to greater heights. Both are human in nature, considerate to their employees, innovative in disposition, and far sighted in their approaches. Both, but Larry in particular, has varied interests in tennis, yachting, piloting, purchasing large villas and estates, and becoming one of the few richest persons of the world. Nothing succeeds like success fully applies to their career graph, and they highly deserve these coveted positions they adorn. Thus, they both have brought glory for themselves as well as their country which, of course, is common. Both the stalwarts are associated with software companies where they use their innovative ideas to get to newer heights for their business enterprises. They both are associated with numerous other organizations in different capacities, and are contributing to their growth and prosperity. Both amply illustrate the saying morning shows the day as they both have shown early signs of charismatic personalities developing.


Bill McDermott took to earning at a tender age of sixteen when he worked in an Italian restaurant washing dishes and preparing tables while he was studying in a high school. He switched his job and joined a deli which he liked due to large customer interaction. Later on he purchased this deli at a cost of $7000, and his next move landed him with Xerox.

Ellison did not have such a modest beginning of his career. He started his career with a stint at Amdahl Corporation in early 1970s, and he then switched on to Ampex Corporation. His project with CIA about database which he named Oracle was the first steeping stone of his career before he founded Software Development Laboratories in 1977 which was later re-christened as Oracle Systems Corporations.

Second difference lies in the personalities of the two software stalwarts. Larry has had a more varied interests and aptitude than Bill McDermott. Ellison had a stake not only in software innovations but also in such diverse fields as yachting, piloting, donating, and purchasing inexpensive dwellings and playgrounds for himself. One can easily surmise Ellison to be more enterprising, outspoken, forthright, and aggressive in life. All these are amply manifest in his personal as well as professional life events.

Thirdly, Ellison was not an atheist as he called himself religious, but did not subscribe to religious dogmas that could not be proved scientifically. He also had a turbulent personal married life as divorced his all four wives so far. Bill has quite different approaches to all these.

The Vision Ahead

Both Ellison, the founder and Co of Oracle, and Bill McDermott, presently co-CEO and likely sole CEO of SAP AG, have to make their respective organizations capable of facing newer challenges likely to be thrown open in near future. Ellison has vowed to take Oracle past Microsoft, and likewise Bill McDermott would like to match or surpass competing organizations in the years to come. Though, the road map charted out is not so easy to achieve, but beginnings have been solid that augurs well for the software sector.


Leaders are Born or Made?

The lives of these two software stalwarts corroborate the age-old concept that leaders are born. They possess inherent and inborn qualities that make them stand out in the world firmament. They make a mark by dint of their sheer talent without making any kind of fuss for help or support. It is their natural instincts that take them along the right path, and make them innovative. Leading by example, and optimizing the use of available resources are the two essentials making one a leader. It was not circumstances that led them to become leaders, but their natural talent and instincts. Thus, leaders are born, not made

American Presidential Debates - Who is blowing the trumpet?

American Presidential Debates - Who is blowing the trumpet?

Recreational Activities to Foster Fellowship among Employees and Increase Productivity

Recreational Activities to Foster Fellowship among Employees and Increase Productivity