September 20, 2002 6:25 AM PDT

Ellison resigns from Apple board

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has resigned from Apple Computer's board of directors, saying he no longer has the time to devote to the company.

"I will continue to offer my advice to (Apple CEO) Steve (Jobs) and the executive management team at Apple, but my schedule does not currently allow me to attend enough of the formal board meetings to warrant a role as a director," Ellison said in a statement Friday.

Ellison, who currently has options for 70,000 shares of Apple stock, was the only board member to attend fewer than 75 percent of the company's meetings in fiscal 1999, 2000 and 2001, according to documents that Apple filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ellison, 57, certainly has enough to focus on at his own company. Oracle recently announced a 23 percent drop in first-quarter license revenue from the previous year and lowered its outlook for the full fiscal year.

Oracle also recently lost a six-year contract with the state of California after questions arose on how much it would cost the state. The problems have prompted some industry watchers to suggest that Ellison take on a second-in-command at Oracle, a suggestion he has strongly dismissed.

Ellison has a long history with Apple. A longtime friend of Jobs, he hinted numerous times that he wanted to acquire the company after Jobs was ousted in 1985.

When Jobs returned to the company in 1997, Ellison was named to the board of directors.

"Larry has served Apple shareholders well as a director during the past five years," Jobs said in a statement. "We're looking forward to benefiting from his counsel on an informal basis going forward."

 

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