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Artificial Intelligence: Article

Chuck Phillips Was Supposed to Become CEO of CA

And then those "soul mates forever" billboards popped up in New York, Atlanta and San Francisco

Oracle Keynote at Cloud Expo

Cloud Computing News - Oracle co-president Charles Phillips was supposed to become CEO of CA - for all its muddied skirts still one of the world's largest software companies - and then those "soul mates forever" billboards popped up in New York, Atlanta and San Francisco, exposing his near decade-long bi-coastal double life with wife and son in the East and a live-in girlfriend in the West.

Six days after Phillips was forced to admit that a picture of him and his ex-girlfriend canoodling was hanging over Times Square, CA named board member and executive chairman Bill McCracken CEO. He's the guy who's been running the company since John Swainson's reportedly forced retirement was announced in September. An ex-IBMer and an ex-Swainson pal, it was no secret he really wanted the job.

Related Story: SAP Wants CA To Give It More Toys

That was the day after Oracle announced it had closed the Sun deal and Phillips led the victory parade filling in for Oracle's unexpectedly absent other co-president Safra Catz.

Given the circumstances a little deconstruction is merited here.

First know that two tried-and-tested sources say Phillips was supposed to get the CA job, which makes sense since he was "ascloseasthis" with CA when he was a Morgan Stanley analyst and who better than the architect of 60 Oracle acquisitions to maybe sell the joint. And the move wouldn't have been much of an effort; his Oracle office is in the same building in New York as CA's real headquarters just 12 floors apart.

Then consider that Phillips' mistress Yavaughnie Wilkins, a 42-year-old journalist student with questionable writing skills and no visible means of support, probably didn't have the money to buy the billboard ads - at a reported cost of $750,000 a month - and that the charlesphillipsandyavaughniewilkins.com web site they advertised was too darn sweet and sentimental, when you think about it, to be the work of a woman scorned. It looks more like the work of a woman celebrating her boyfriend's 50th birthday last year and their long relationship before he supposedly went back to his long-suffering wife.

Then consider that it might not have been opportune for Oracle to have the guy in charge of integrating Oracle and its problematic $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems bolt amid the celebration of its triumph over the European Commission's lengthy resistance to the deal and ahead of the expected four-month assimilation process.

Then just suppose that somebody at CA - could have been McCracken, could have been CA president and COO Michael Christenson, worried that Phillips would clean house, or somebody else privy to CA's boardroom secrets - tipped off Oracle that its number two-and-half was going to bolt.

Then imagine that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison gets really ticked off at this act of lèse majesté and peeled off some pocket change to fix Phillips' wagon. C'mon, who else has the motivation and the money?

CA needed to get a permanent CEO in place and, given its tainted history, couldn't exactly afford a CEO who doesn't look like an upright, forthright Boy Scout. Meanwhile, Oracle needed Phillips to stick around long enough to insure an unclouded celebration and a smooth integration of the Sun acquisition, and, given Oracle's lurid history, Phillips' public peccadillo is hardly a taint at all.

Considering all that, the billboards were a Machiavellian masterstroke to keep Chuck Phillips in his place, maybe not for the next four months, which would have been ideal, but at least for last week, which Larry will tell you went swimmingly.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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