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Oracle's Hurd Flexes His Muscles

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Former Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) CEO Mark Hurd is already flexing his muscles in his new role as co-president of Oracle (ORCL), according to analyst firm JMP Securities.

Hurd, who was hired by Oracle after being ousted by HP following an expenses scandal, has laid out his plans for the database giant, said Pat Walravens, an analyst at JMP.

Citing conversations with people familiar with his activities, Walravens said that Hurd immediately targeted Oracle's sales force execution and productivity after joining the firm on Sep. 6. "Hurd reportedly told Oracle employees at an internal meeting that his biggest priority is fixing the disconnect between Oracle's sales and consulting services," added the analyst in a note released on Monday.
Mark Hurd
Mark Hurd

Walravens also maintained his market outperform rating and $33 price target on Oracle. "Overall, Mr. Hurd's impact on the organization increases our confidence in our estimates of non-GAAP EPS of $1.98 in fiscal year 2011 and $2.34 in 2012," he wrote.

Beloved by Wall Street, Hurd was credited with turning HP's fortunes prior to his ouster. Hurd's extensive knowledge of the hardware market will prove key as Oracle attempts to shake off its reputation as primarily a software company.

Oracle beat Wall Street's forecast in its recent first-quarter results, boosted by new software license sales. Hurd's boss, Larry Ellison, seems hell-bent on clawing share from tech giant IBM (IBM), which missed analysts' revenue estimate in its most recent quarterly results.

By focusing on sales and consulting, Oracle is looking to up the pressure on its arch rival. IBM, which wields its vast Global Services division as a cudgel, has also taken a big swipe at Oracle by acquiring data warehousing specialist Netezza for $1.7 billion. Oracle, however, says that it is enjoying strong demand its Exadata database machine , and the company has also been confounding the critics who said that its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems was a bad move.

Oracle shares rose 6 cents, or 0.21%, to $28.96 on Monday, as the Nasdaq crept up 0.13%.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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