NEW YORK (TheStreet) –– Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison is just as sharp and combative as ever, despite the fact that he recently turned 70. That's why it came as such a shock Thursday that he had stepped down as CEO at the company he founded 37 years ago.
But let's not assume that Ellison should be pushed out to pasture just yet.
Oracle's board of directors named him "Executive Chairman" and appointed him Chief Technology Officer, a post that's generally responsible for charting the technology strategy employed by a company. And let's not forget that the executive chairman title is reserved only for those who want to make it perfectly clear that they still have a day-to-day role.
More than that, when you have a founder who is in a day-to-day role, they are still going to be treated internally by employees as the guy who started the company, especially if they still own a quarter of the outstanding shares.
So, make no mistake, Ellison is still the guy running Oracle.
His executive chairman role puts him a notch above his former direct reports Mark Hurd and Safra Catz. Hurd and Catz, former Oracle co-presidents, will now each serve as Oracle CEO for their respective areas. It's a rather unusual arrangement. Ellison does not even have co-CEOs -- he has Hurd as CEO and Catz as CEO.