Oracle chairman to meet Australian users

Oracle chairman to meet Australian users

Oracle chairman Jeff Henley arrives in Australia next week to meet PeopleSoft customers and reassure users the company will stand firm on bold promises it has already made such as maintaining product support right through to 2013.

Henley will chair the town hall-style meeting, one of many that have already been staged across the globe since Oracle announced its $10.3 billion acquisition of PeopleSoft in December 2004.

Oracle Australia managing director, Leigh Warren, said the meeting, to be held in Sydney on March 8, 2005, is an open invitation to its entire customer base and will also be part of a Webcast.

The meeting will be followed by a road show in most states across Australia although Henley will only be in attendance at the Sydney event.

It is Henley's first visit to Australia as chairman, as he was only recently appointed to the position after serving as CFO for the past 13 years.

His last visit to Australia was in February 2003 and Warren said the event will bring an end to the long period of uncertainty that was created by 18 months of legal wrangling before the acquisition's formal announcement.

"The last two months there has been heaps of activity executing on the merger and this includes ongoing contact with our enterprise customer base and local user groups; feedback has been positive," Warren said. He attributes the smooth changeover to speed, claiming the success of a merger is based on how quickly a company can execute.

He said this is in addition to maintaining constant telephone contact with the likes of Qantas, federal government agencies and other large clients to keep them informed of ongoing developments.

During these exchanges Warren said, customers have been most concerned about product support and ongoing application development which is why Oracle has retained 90 percent of local PeopleSoft engineers.

He was unwilling to provide details about local job cuts claiming only a "small number" were affected. But in the US, Oracle announced the elimination of 5000 jobs in January leaving it with a workforce of about 50,000 employees.

On the local jobs front, Warren said cuts were not restricted to PeopleSoft employees but were spread across both organizations as selection was based on merit.

"We kept engineers because development is a key part of our business and there is no change to support levels," he added.

Oracle Australia's senior marketing director, Don Smallwood, said PeopleSoft had 1000 support staff, but as a result of the acquisition this figure has increased to 6000.

He reiterated a statement by Oracle chief Larry Ellison that the company would rather "over-support" as the acquisition goal is 100 percent customer satisfaction.

Oracle business development senior director, Damien Carr, said the reason why the company has moved swiftly since the acquisition effort began is because an estimated 30 percent of mergers fail.

In 2008, Oracle will release a new applications suite, dubbed Fusion, to serve as a migration point for customers on all three of its applications platforms. Early technology from the new architecture will be available next year with individual apps released in 2007.

Do you have any questions about the acquisition that you need answered? Send them to

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