Oracle CFO Steps Down

The reclusive Greg Maffei is 'found' -- handing in his resignation.
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Updated from 4:30 p.m. EST

Oracle's

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CFO is leaving the company after just four months on the job, the company announced after the market closed Thursday.

Earlier in the day, speculation that Greg Maffei was leaving sparked a selloff in the database giant's shares.

"Greg has told us he's looking at a terrific professional opportunity," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in a statement released after the bell. "We wish him well."

In the same statement, Maffei said,"My resignation from Oracle is not a reflection on the company, its executives or employees," And I wish Oracle and my former co-workers the very best."

At one point during Thursday's session, Oracle was off more than 5% in very heavy trading. It closed down 2.2% to $12.20. Following the announcement, the stock recently rebounded by 5 cents in after-hours trading to $12.25 on Instinet.

Maffei will be succeeded by co-President Safra Catz, who will be the company's fourth CFO in less than two years. Her appointment is permanent, said an Oracle spokeswoman.

The stock slide started Thursday with the publication of a note by Goldman Sachs analyst Rick Sherlund, who raised questions about the status of Maffei, appointed CFO and co-president just four months ago.

Maffei has been "away" for two weeks, leading to the postponement of the company's analysts' day last week and Maffei's cancelled appearance at Goldman's investment conference next week, Sherlund said. "We have grown increasingly convinced that there are legitimate questions regarding Mr. Maffei's status at the company," he wrote. Sherlund added that he believes "the fundamentals of Oracle are intact."

When the analysts' day was bumped into next year, co-President Charles Phillips alluded to "family issues" and other scheduling problems. Asked about Maffei's status Wednesday night while speaking at a Morgan Stanley investment conference in Arizona, Phillips reiterated his earlier remarks about family issues and added: "The cancellations have nothing to do with tone of business." When asked by an investor to comment on Maffei's "commitment to Oracle," Phillips replied, "We have nothing to add. We'll leave it at that until he is ready to talk."

Sherlund also noted that although Phillips spent some time describing how Oracle's top management functions, he made no mention of Maffei's role; nor did he speak of him when discussing the finance department, which Maffei heads.

Maffei joined the company as CFO four months ago, replacing Harry You who left after 9 months to become CEO of

BearingPoint

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. You replaced long-time CFO Jeff Henley, who became Oracle's chairman.

Goldman has an investment banking relationship with Oracle.