The PeopleSoft dilemma: skip battle or face cull?

PeopleSoft employees around the world will probably have spent the Christmas period considering their next career move, following the company’s acquisition by Oracle in late December 2004. But perhaps they should have been better prepared – after all, the executive leading PeopleSoft’s Transaction Committee who eventually gave the Oracle deal the OK, goes by the curiously apt name of Skip Battle. Following his lead, PeopleSoft CEO Dave Duffield has also skipped battle, announcing his resignation days after the acquisition was announced.

That has left PeopleSoft employees somewhat in the lurch. Oracle has already fired PeopleSoft’s copresident and chief financial officer, Kevin Parker, and three other top executives: Phil Wilmington, copresident; Nanci Caldwell, chief marketing officer; and James Shaughnessy, PeopleSoft’s general counsel.

But there are many more to come. During the US government’s unsuccessful attempts to block the hostile takeover in court, Oracle co-president Safra Katz said that approximately 6,000 PeopleSoft employees would lose their jobs if a deal was concluded.

Meanwhile, PeopleSoft employees have set up a dedicated web site, ‘Power to the People’ (, to mourn the company’s passing. That may have helped Oracle bosses as they decided on how those cuts should be made.

The remarks made on the online guestbook range from the hostile: “I have a moral problem with working for Larry [Ellison, Oracle CEO]”; to the downright melodramatic: “Although it was sad to hear the news this morning, the pain of it all hit home tonight when I picked up my nine year old son from daycare. He said, ‘Daddy, someone mentioned that PeopleSoft lost to Oracle’. With tears in his eyes I had to explain to him that PeopleSoft is no more.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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