‘Total chaos’ inside Oracle marketing as mass layoffs hit group


  • Mass layoffs hit Oracle’s marketing department on Monday, leading to “complete chaos,” the sources said.
  • The marketing team has been eliminated and replaced by a larger revenue operations team.
  • Even senior, experienced and high-performing employees have been cut recently, sources said.

Earlier this week, database giant Oracle began mass layoffs that could affect thousands of employees around the world, sources told Insider.

Current and former employees say the hardest-hit sectors are marketing and customer experience (CX), where insiders say the atmosphere is bleak — and those who haven’t been fired are scrambling to figure out if they’re “next” will be cut off.

“Everyone who left is relieved,” the marketer, who was fired on Monday, told Insider. “And the people who are still here must be running up the mountain.”

The headcount of some marketing teams has been cut by 30 to 50 percent, sources said. In some cases, managers can choose who gets cut, while others have no say in how the layoffs will affect their teams, they said.

Oracle’s advertising and customer experience teams are also said to have been cut quickly. “The common verb to describe ACX is that they are obliterated,” said one person who worked at Oracle. Insider couldn’t determine exactly how many ACX employees were made redundant, but a person familiar with the matter said layoffs may have reached 80% of the division.

Oracle did not respond to Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication.

Most of the layoffs affected a division overseen by former chief marketing officer Ariel Kelman, who left Oracle in June, multiple people familiar with the matter told Insider. Other senior marketers, including Kelman, who was hired from his former employer and Oracle’s rival in cloud infrastructure, Amazon Web Services, have also been fired, the sources said.

These teams now fall under the purview of Jason Maynard, formerly senior director of sales and marketing for Oracle’s NetSuite business management software. Maynard immediately reorganized what was left of the marketing organization into a larger unit now called “revenue operations,” the sources said.

“There’s no more marketing,” a senior marketing executive who was fired on Monday told Insider. “We shouldn’t even say we’re in marketing because there’s no marketing department.”

Layoffs at Oracle are not uncommon — it spent $191 million on restructuring costs in fiscal 2022, mostly related to severance packages, it was reported in june. It said it spent $431 million on those costs last year.

The database company also reported Better-than-expected June results, revenue grew 5% year over year, with cloud revenue of $2.9 billion. Its cloud platform Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) still lags behind AWS, Microsoft and Google Cloud in overall market share.

However, OCI was hardly affected by the layoffs, according to four people familiar with the matter. Inside OCI, layoffs are seen as Catz “wielding the axe” against businesses that spend more than they earn and don’t grow enough.

As Insider previously reported, Oracle’s advertising division also laid off about 60 employees in July, and reported information The company is looking to cut costs by as much as $1 billion through layoffs and other means.

Many at Oracle now sense doom is on the horizon, with more layoffs and restructuring expected by the end of the year, including shortly after the CloudWorld conference in October.

“It was just a horrible environment,” said a former marketing employee who worked with Kelman. “It’s total chaos.”

‘We’ve been working like zombies’

When Kelman was hired in January 2020, the industry viewed Oracle’s poaching of a key executive from AWS as a coup. However, Kelman’s departure came after a dispute with Oracle CEO Safra Catz over cloud marketing spending, the trio said. Kelman did not respond to a request for comment.

Many in Oracle’s marketing division, which employs thousands, have been worried about a round of layoffs following Kelman’s departure and the departure of Kelman’s senior vice president of marketing, Juergen Lindner, who left shortly after, the sources said.

“We’ve been working like zombies for the past few weeks because of a ‘what am I doing here?’ feeling,” said one recently laid off marketer.

Sources told Insider that feeling largely persists. With no formal communication from CEO Safra Catz or co-founder Larry Ellison about Monday’s layoffs, current and former Oracle employees said their colleagues across multiple divisions were trying to figure out who was still around.

“The only reason I found anything was because one of our senior engineers had my personal phone number and he was fired,” said one who works at Oracle. “He texted me and said, ‘Hey, a whole bunch of us got fired, including our manager.'”

A recently fired marketing chief told Insider that their team was cut in half and no successors were named to take their place.

“My team is texting me; they still don’t know who they work for,” the person said. “No one told them I was gone, so they were just floating in the wind.”

Oracle layoffs affect some of its most seasoned employees

Some marketers have also been sharing their layoff notices on external Slack channels and in text to warn others that they may be next.

“We started Slack messaging before the notifications started,” said one former employee. “So you can see when the call is coming in and you can know you’re going to get the next call.”

While the company is known for its annual layoffs, some employees said they were shocked by how many senior, experienced and high-performing employees were fired on Monday.

For example, Oracle’s codebase is so complex that it can take years for engineers to fully grasp how everything works, and workers with more than a decade of experience are being laid off, some employees said.

Other employees laid off in recent months said they were angry at being laid off before the restricted stock unit plans to vest, costing them tens of thousands of dollars in expected compensation.

“It’s a real shame,” said a recently fired marketing chief whose main compensation package included stock. “I know people who take sick leave and get fired. I know people who take parental leave get fired.”

For the Austin-based tech giant, the decision to lay off some of its more than 130,000 employees comes at a critical time.Oracle last month Obtain regulatory approval Acquired medical records company Cerner for $28 billion and is in the process of absorbing its approximately 20,000 employees.It also recently won a contract Storing U.S. user data for ByteDance-owned video app TikTok — The deal could bolster its cloud computing ambitions as it tries to overtake cloud giants like Amazon Web Services.

Do you work at Oracle or have insights to share? Contact reporter Belle Lam via encrypted email (bellelin@protonmail.com) or company email (blin@insider.com); Ashley Stewart (astewart@insider.com) via encrypted text messaging service Signal (+1-425-344-8242 ); Ryan Joe via Signal (+1 (310) 880-8992), email (rjoe@businessinsider.com) or Twitter DM (@threefirstnames).



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