As Chief Executive Officer of Oracle, Safra Catz is one of the most influential business women in the world. Her story is more than a little inspiring.
Catz, an Israeli immigrant, moved to the U.S. as a young child. Her father worked as a nuclear physicist at MIT while her mother (a survivor of the holocaust) worked as a speech therapist. In 1983, Catz received a bachelor's from the prestigious Wharton School and then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she obtained her Juris Doctorate in 1986. Despite earning her law degree, Catz commenced her career in the early 1990s as a banker for Wall Street investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin, & Jenrette (DLJ). She worked at the bank for 13 years, holding numerous positions, including Managing Director and Senior Vice President. At DLG, Catz gained expertise in mergers and acquisitions. Since then, during her long career, she has overseen more than 100 deals. Among her monumental transactions is the takeover of BEA Systems for $8.5 billion, Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion, and NetSuite for a staggering $9.3 billion.
In 1997, Catz relocated from Wall Street to Silicon Valley in an effort to build stronger customer relations for her company. Soon DLJ was acquired by Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse for $11.5 billion and Catz was lured to software giant Oracle in 1999.
Her rise at Oracle is legendary. After beginning as Senior Vice President she was named an Executive Vice president within months. In less than two years, Catz was placed on the Oracle board and was also named as co-president in 2004. From November of 2005 to September of 2008, Catz was appointed as interim CFO, only to return as full-time CFO in 2011. In 2010, Catz was named co-president together with Mark Hurd. Holding one of the company’s top positions, she would soon become a regular fixture in media outlets as one of the most powerful women in corporate America. In September of 2014, she was promoted to co-CEO of Oracle, holding the role until 2019, when she became the company's sole Chief Executive Officer.
Away from Oracle, Catz is currently a visiting accounting lecturer at Stanford Business School. Since February of 2018, she has also served on the board of directors for The Walt Disney Company.