As of today, Oracle’s acquisition of Sun is complete, according to reports by the Associated Press. Based on commentary from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, this acquisition means bad news to thousands. Oracle has plans to lay off approximately 2,000 people in the first few months, primarily Sun employees, and more layoffs are expected to occur down the line.
Larry Ellison also stated that, as part of the upcoming layoffs, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz will likely be ousted from the company. To Sun employees this may come as no surprise — according to Glassdoor’s CEO Watch List, which evaluates the 25 lowest rated CEOs, Schwartz has been consistently noted for his dismal approval ratings. Based on the most recent Watch List, Schwartz held a low 20% approval rating, and it’s dropped even further to 19% in just 26 days. He has continued to see his approval rating decline for the past four consecutive quarters: Q309 he held a 21% approval rating, Q209 he held a 23% approval rating, and held on to a 25% approval rating in Q109.
Schwartz will be the 8th Watch List CEO to leave his post since Glassdoor began monitoring the lowest rated executives in 2008. He joins Rob Glaser of Real Networks as the second tech CEO to leave the building in 2010 (Glaser announced he was stepping down earlier this month). Similar to Schwartz, Glaser held a 21% approval rating at the time of his departure and had been on the CEO Watch List for four consecutive quarters.
Here are some recent Sun company reviews that show how Schwartz has earned such a low approval rating among employees, and providing perhaps a clearer picture as to why we may soon see Schwartz’s departure from the company:
“Management has seemed lost and cannot direct the ship. Then in April of 2009, Oracle announced they were purchasing Sun. Management has basically checked out since the announcement.” – Sun Microsystems Senior Program Manager (Menlo Park, CA)
“For the past 8 months Sun has operated under the uncertainty of pending acquisition from Oracle. This has led to a lot of internal stress and “paralysis” within the company. Top management has been missing in action for the past 8 months and it often feels like we are a ship without a sail in a challenging business environment.” – Sun Microsystems Supply Chain Manager (Location n/a)
“Jonathan Schwartz has not shown the ability to heed or learn from advice.” – Sun Microsystems Engagement Manager (Location n/a)
“Senior management lost track of the health of the company. Even with year after year of layoffs and management did not do any major restructuring to make the company profitable.” – Sun Microsystems Software Engineering Director (Menlo Park, CA)
And in advice to senior management, a Sun Microsystems Product Marketing Manager (Menlo Park, CA) adds, “Please take your parachute and scoot. Larry Ellison is just what the Dr ordered. SUN will benefit from some discipline.”
It will be interesting to see how Sun and Oracle employees react as company cultures merge under the leadership of Ellison. We will keep you posted on how Larry Ellison fares with his growing employee base (he currently garners a 62% approval from Oracle employees), and we’ll be sure to give you the inside scoop if Jonathan Schwartz pops up at the helm of a new company.