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Quick Hits: Oracle Underperforms, Ellison Overpaid

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Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

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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 larryellisonsux.com, larryellisonblows.com, ihatelarryellison.com, larryellisonsonofabitch.com, and larryellisonbites.com. The demand must be unimaginably high.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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