Ex-White House press secretary joins Oracle Corp

Ex-White House press secretary joins Oracle Corp

Larry Ellison, founder and flamboyant chief of Oracle Corp. , has hired Joe Lockhart, the press secretary who saw U.S. President Bill Clinton through the sex scandal that led to his impeachment.

Oracle on Tuesday announced that Lockhart - who left his White House post in September - has joined the software giant as a senior vice president, reporting directly to Ellison.

Lockhart's first order of business will be to "focus on refining and communicating Oracle's business strategy," the company said in a statement. Oracle is the world's second-largest software company behind Microsoft Corp. .

Lockhart is expected to split his time between Oracle's base in Redwood Shores, Calif., and his home in Washington, D.C. He took over the White House press room's podium during the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which culminated in Clinton's Dec. 19, 1998, impeachment. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in February 1999.

"Joe brings perspective and experience not commonly found in Silicon Valley companies," said Ellison, who is working to transform Oracle from a database software giant to a leader in the e-business space. "Joe will help us clearly and broadly communicate the benefits of e-business and e-government."

Lockhart's professional experience should serve him well at Oracle, where company news has at times taken a back seat to Ellison's bad-boy antics.

Among other things, Ellison's penchant for ultra-expensive suits have landed him on the pages of Playboy magazine. His love of high adventure has spawned his participation in mock dogfights over the Pacific Ocean. And, Ellison's fierce competitiveness helped fuel his decision to hire private detectives to root through trash for information to help the government's anti-trust case against rival Microsoft.

"This is an incredible opportunity for me to work with one of the most exciting companies in the world, and with one of the most visionary business leaders of our time," Lockhart said in a statement.

Lockhart's addition to Oracle's senior management team comes on the heels of an announcement that Oracle Executive Vice President Gary Bloom would be the second high-level executive to leave the company in less than six months.

Ray Lane, Oracle's longtime No. 2 executive, had left Oracle earlier after Ellison had stripped him of most of his responsibilities, leaving him with little to do, Lane said in an interview with Reuters at the time.

Oracle shares were little changed on the news, trading down 15/32 at $22-21/32 on the Nasdaq market.

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