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Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO gave us a rare peek at what it really takes to run a $37 billion company

Published by Business Insider on Mon, 26 Sep 2016

With $37 billion in annual revenue, Oracle is one of the world's biggest tech companies. And every year tens of thousands of customers, partners, industry analysts, and journalists descend upon San Francisco for the company's annual OpenWorld tech conference.It is a pinnacle week for the company's top execs, its two famous CEOs, Safra Catz and Mark Hurd,and its even more famous founder, Larry Ellison, who stepped down from the CEO role in 2014 to become executive chairman and CTO, though he's still very much the leader of the executive triad.Oracle invited me tospend a full day shadowing Hurd last week at OpenWorld,as he met with customers, analysts and others on the biggest day of the conference.During the week, Hurd met with nearly 500 people either in individual 1:1 meetings or in small groups, answering their questions, solving problems, issuing reassurances and explaining the company's plans andstrategy, all at a surprisingly exhausting pace.It was a rare close-up look at the hard work a CEO really does to run global tech company.SEE ALSO:The fabulous life of billionaire Michael Dell, who just completed a $67 billion mega-deal to cement his empireOur day together started at 8 a.m. at a local Starbucks. Hurd had been up for hours already (since about 4:30 a.m.), working. He always wakes up that early. He warned me to wear comfortable shoes.See: The truth behind Oracle CEO Mark Hurd's Starbucks addictionHurd surprisingly does not travel with an entourage of assistants. He's famous for his memory and doesn't need a lot of hand-holding on his schedule. This day, it looked like he had an entourage but the crowd was mostly me and a PR representative. We were sometimes joined by the top Oracle exec responsible for the whole event and the Oracle exec responsible for a particular roundtable or meeting.Meeting with customers is clearly one of Hurd's favorite things to do. He was in high spirits, happy and joking with me and others all day. He was funny. He's also a singularly focused guy: sales and operations. He's so oriented toward that, at one point, I mentioned the singer Adele and he quipped, "Now that's productivity! She had one bad breakup and she turned it into a dozen songs."See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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