MarketWatch First Take
Oracle catches Street off guard and spins6/18/12 7:56 PM ET (MarketWatch)
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) --
Earlier on Monday, Oracle's share fell 2.1% on reports that Oracle's (ORCL) executive vice president of sales, Keith Block, was leaving after a disparaging instant message conversation was disclosed in
In the call, company executives didn't provide much of an explanation as to why the call was three days ahead of schedule, and co-president Safra Catz, who normally runs the call in a smooth manner, seemed flummoxed at times and not her usually organized self.
That said, the company's fiscal fourth quarter was better than expected. Read about Oracle's earnings.
Co-president Mark Hurd also hammered home the point that Oracle's sales force was in great shape, without directly confirming the news about Block. "There are no changes to our tech or hardware sales forces, no changes in any other geographies," Hurd said.
Block headed up Oracle's overall North American sales and consulting, and reports are that he has left the company. "Field and sales attrition are down materially over the past couple of years. Better news, attrition amongst our top performers is down materially as well."
In after-hours trade, investors seemed temporarily appeased by the news. Oracle's shares tacked on 3.2% to $28.00. Still, Block's colorful comments are now part of the vocabulary around Oracle, and all the huffing and puffing by Hurd and Chief Executive Larry Ellison will do little to eradicate them.