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Oracle CFO Maffei Steps Down

Oracle is losing its second CFO in a year. Greg Maffei is leaving the enterprise software company after four months on the job to take a position at another company.

Oracle said Safra Catz, its co-president, will take on the duties for Maffei, who will remain with the company until November 15th to help with the transition.

In a brief statement, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said: "Greg has told us he's looking at a terrific professional opportunity," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. "We wish him well."

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."

While rumors are swirling that Maffei may be leaving to help another, undisclosed company, his exodus is the latest in what has become a revolving door at the position.

In July, Maffei succeeded Harry L. You, who left Oracle after serving only eight months as CFO to become CEO of BearingPoint.

Maffei came to Oracle after five years as CEO of 360Networks, a regional fiber optic network provider to telephone companies, businesses and federal agencies. Before that turn, Maffei was CFO of Microsoft from July 1997 to January 2000.

Maffei had also shared president duties with Charles Phillips and Catz. Taking on the CFO duties should seem familiar to Catz, who became Oracle's default CFO after You left in March 2005.

Paul Hamerman, an enterprise applications analyst for Forrester Research, said current Chairman Jeff Henley, Oracle's CFO for 13 years, left a tough act to follow.

"Jeff was really someone who helped build the company and was CFO for a long time," Hamerman said. "Harry You was a fine CFO but just got a better offer. This situation with Greg Maffei is different. My sense is he clashed with the other top level execs."

Hamerman wouldn't speculate who Maffei may have been at odds with, but Maffei works closely with fellow Oracle presidents Phillips and Catz. All three report to Ellison.

Hamerman said it's possible Maffei realized Catz or Phillips are being groomed as Ellison's successor and decided to leave.

Oracle is the busiest it's been in years, acquiring companies such as Siebel Systems for its applications business and TimesTen for its infrastructure business to compete with rivals SAP, IBM and Microsoft.

Looking to compete with open source vendors like MySQL, the Redwood Shores, Calif., company issued a free, lightweight version of its database, Database 10g Express Edition earlier this week.

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