Oracle announced late on Friday that Ray Lane, its long-time president and chief operating officer, is resigning from the company. No reason was given for Lane's departure, and a replacement was not immediately named.
Lane, who is 53, joined Oracle as COO eight years ago and was made president in 1996. He will remain a member of Oracle's board of directors, according to a brief statement that was distributed to Oracle employees by email on Friday evening.
Lane has been credited with playing an important role in Oracle's growth, although his contributions were often eclipsed by the company's colourful chairman and chief executive officer, Larry Ellison. Lane's responsibilities included overseeing the company's sales force, and meeting with large customers to promote Oracle's software.
Lane was apparently a much sought-after executive in Silicon Valley. He was reported to have turned down the top job at Compaq Computer before it hired Michael Capellas as its new CEO.
In Friday's statement, Ellison thanked Lane for his work at the company.
"I am grateful to Ray for all of his efforts. He will be missed. We wish him nothing but the best," Ellison said in a statement.
While no replacement was named, several observers pointed to Gary Bloom, an executive vice president at the company, as a possible candidate for the job.
Oracle was shaken this week by revelations that it had hired a detective firm to investigate three public advocacy groups that backed rival software giant Microsoft during its antitrust trial. Lane was not connected with the incident publicly, and it's not thought to have played a role in his decision to retire.
Oracle's shares on the Nasdaq closed at $84.06 on Friday, up 3.9 per cent from the previous day. Lane's departure was announced after the markets closed.