In the populist vein sweeping the land, the issue of Wall Street compensation is always a good fuel for the flame. The Huffington Post recently ran a post along those lines that has as its main proposition the notion that Larry Ellison is overpaid and should be canned by his board. It’s one of these interesting arguments by intelligent people that has some value in terms of the basic topic but falls down in terms of the details of what is happening in the real world: executive compensation borders on the criminal in many cases, but not in the case of Larry Ellison.
I have always respected the fact that Ellison hung on to a boatload of Oracle stock through the thick and thin of the last 20+ years, and for many years Oracle equity represented the lion’s share of his wealth, something very few founders can say so many years and management miles post-IPO. If we want to question the entire capitalist system, we can bitch about how rich Larry is, but compared to what people like Carly got for running HP into the ground, or any of those Wall Street bonus boys have been getting for raping and pillaging the global economy, Larry Ellison has earned his keep at Oracle.