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Quick Hits: Oracle Underperforms, Ellison Overpaid


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

A good leader knows how to respond to dissent; a great dictator knows how to crush it.

Oracle's (ORCL) Larry Ellison is a great dictator: Amid national outcry over golden parachutes and other grotesque corporate extravagances (including blatant misappropriations of taxpayer money), Ellison not only managed to give himself a massive $72 million pay package, he also easily quashed the shareholders who dared to question his decision.

The fledgling rebellion was snuffed out at Oracle's October 10th shareholder meeting, though 29% of all votes cast supported the say-on-pay proposal. The proposal came after proxy shareholders advised against Ellison's pay raise.

Ellison already receives a salary 12 times greater than the median for other technology CEOs. He's the third-richest man in America and its second-most highly paid CEO – only John Thain, of Merrill Lynch (MER) makes more (a piddling $1.7 million more, to be exact).

And all this despite the fact that Oracle is down 26% this year to date. IBM's (IBM) CEO, Sam Palmisano, receives a little more than a third of what Ellison does, though his company's 2008 fortunes are similar. And in 2007 -- a year in which Apple (AAPL) shareholders saw a 99.3% return on their investments -- Steve Jobs took home a little more than one seventh of Ellison's princely sum.

Maybe that's why Oracle long ago bought the domain names,,,, and The demand must be unimaginably high.
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