Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd has passed away. His death was announced in a company-wide email by Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison on Friday (October 18).

Back in September, 62-year old Hurd began a leave of absence for unspecified health-related reasons.

It was understood co-CEO Safra Catz and Oracle founder Ellison would assume his responsibilities during this time.

Ellison wrote in the email: “It is with a profound sense of sadness and loss that I tell everyone here at Oracle that Mark Hurd passed away early this morning.

“Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend and trusted colleague.

“I know that many of us are inconsolable right now, but we are left with memories and a sense of gratitude…that we had the opportunity to get to know Mark, the opportunity to work with him…and become his friend.”

Mark Hurd co-CEO Oracle
– Peter Judge

Mark Hurd’s legacy

It’s likely the company will look for a new partner soon to replace Hurd since Ellison has reportedly grown to appreciate the dual-CEO system.

One option is Jeff Henley, Oracle’s vice chairman, and former CFO.

According to Bloomberg, Ellison once mentioned Don Johnson, head of Oracle’s cloud infrastructure division, and Steve Miranda, head of Oracle’s applications unit as possible replacements to Hurd.

As of yet, no announcements have been made.

A cost-cutter

Hurd was responsible for sacking thousands when he took over as HP’s CEO in 2005, and made further lay-offs when HP acquired Ross Perot's EDS for $13.9 billion in 2008.

Under Hurd’s tenure, HP increased its revenue by about 60 percent and doubled the stock price, according to Bloomberg.

A controversial figure, in 2006 he launched an investigation into internal leaks from the company’s board.

Security consultants were hired to conduct surveillance on journalists, staff and HP board members - acquiring phone and fax records.

The California attorney general’s office opened a criminal probe into possible privacy violations, and HP’s chairwoman at the time, Patricia Dunn, resigned her post when the scandal broke.

For his part, Hurd defended the need to investigate company leakers but claimed he didn’t know about the investigators’ tactics.

Hurd was eventually ousted from HP following a sexual harassment probe in 2010 that found he had violated company standards.

Mark Hurd w Larry Ellison.jpg
Paula Hurd, Mark Hurd and Larry Ellison – Mark Hurd/Twitter

"Hurd saw business as a battlefield and himself as a master general," Bloomberg

Appointed by then-CEO Ellison in 2010, Hurd was named president of Oracle Corporation alongside Safra A. Catz, succeeding former president Charles Phillips.

On September 18, 2014, Ellison announced he was stepping down as CEO of Oracle, with Hurd and Catz both becoming CEOs.

As part of the promotion, Hurd was given control of sales, service, and marketing, while Catz would oversee operations, legal and finance departments. Oracle would go on to sack thousands of employees across several purges.

An effective CEO, Oracle's cloud business would grow by around 82 percent between 2015 and 2016 and would invest $5.1 billion into research and development.

At the time Hurd and Catz were named CEOs, Oracle’s central business was selling software designed to run on gear owned by the customer and charging a license fee.

Despite Hurd dismissing the concept of hyperscale data centers back in 2012, by 2015 he was a big supporter of focusing on a cloud platform, predicting that by 2025 all enterprise data would be stored in the cloud.