Larry Ellison Bio: How Oracle’s CEO Amassed Over $100 Billion

The uber-wealthy fascinates me because I always wonder how you can amass a fortune of over $100 billion. It is a crazy amount of money to me, so I love discovering how these people became so affluent.

Larry Ellison is an American businessman who is best known as the co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation.

While researching Mr. Ellison, I came across a lot of interesting facts about his life and also found out more about his management style and how he grew Oracle into a multi-billion dollar company.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this Larry Ellison bio, here are some quick facts about this entrepreneur.

Larry Ellison Bio Facts

Full Name: Lawrence Joseph Ellison
Birth Date: August 17, 1944.
Birth Place: New York City, United States
Nationality: American
Siblings: n/a
Children: 2 (Megan and David)
Partner / Spouse: Adda Quinn (m. 1967; div. 1974)​, Nancy Wheeler Jenkins (m. 1977; div. 1978)​, Barbara Boothe (m. 1983; div. 1986)​, Melanie Craft (m. 2003; div. 2010)
Profession: Businessman, entrepreneur
Salary: $67 million
Net Worth: $103 billion
Social Media: Twitter,LinkedIn
Companies Associated With: Oracle Corporation
Last Updated: 2022

Larry Ellison Key Facts Summary

  • He has a net worth of over $100 billion and owns over 36% of Oracle Corporation.
  • Co-founded Oracle in 1977 and served as the CEO for 35 years.
  • He was adopted when he was nine months old and raised by his aunt and uncle.
  • He has been married and divorced four times throughout his life.
  • Owns a real estate portfolio worth over $1 billion, including 98% of the Hawaiian island Lanai.
  • Owns several aircraft and is a licensed pilot, and races yachts through Oracle Team USA.
  • Donates mainly to Republican political causes, including Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential bid.

Larry Ellison Birthplace and Early Life

I found Larry Ellison’s upbringing quite interesting as he was born out of wedlock to a Jewish woman, Florence Spellman, who gave him up for adoption to his aunt and uncle. Ellison didn’t meet his biological mother again until he was nearly 50, and as far as I can tell, I don’t think he has had that close of a relationship with her later in life.

His adoptive father made significant wealth by investing in real estate in Chicago (the family moved to the South Shore area when Ellison was young), but he lost most of his fortune during the Great Depression.

Even though Larry Ellison was brought up in a Jewish household, I found it interesting that he refused to have a bar mitzvah. Ellison has spoken about his religious skepticism throughout his life.

Ellison attended South Shore High School and later the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, although he didn’t finish his final exams as his adoptive mother passed away. He also went to the University of Chicago (studying mathematics and physics), although he only attended for one year.

Larry Ellison Early Business Success


I know Larry Ellison as the co-founder and CEO of Oracle; however, he did have a few tech jobs before this.

Ellison moved to California after dropping out of university and initially worked with Ampex and the Amdahl Corporation. Interestingly, his work at Ampex included developing a database (called Oracle) for the CIA.

The Oracle Corporation was originally called Software Development Laboratories (SDL), and Ellison co-founded this business in 1977 with associates Ed Milner and Bob Oates. I’ll touch on the initial business failure of the company in more detail later on, but Oracle nearly didn’t make it into the 1990s, mainly down to significant issues with their sales strategy and revenue model.

The whole premise of Oracle’s business was based on a paper written by Edgar F. Codd called “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks.” Oracle’s purpose was to develop a database model to store significant amounts of data that could be structured and retrieved efficiently.

Oracle made headlines using Structured Query Language (SQL) to great effect, and I think Ellison really spearheaded the company to its success. He saw the initial potential of the internet, and he advocated building many of Oracle’s systems with World Wide Web compatibility, further enhancing the company’s commercial appeal.

Under Ellison’s leadership, Oracle grew rapidly in the 1980s and eventually went public in 1986 with a revenue of $55 million. By the decade’s end, Oracle corporation had revenue of $584 million.

The more I learned about Larry Ellison and his business success, the more I thought he was challenging to work with. Many Oracle employees have told stories of his intensity and drive to succeed, and I suppose this is how he made Oracle into a massive global company. Although I’m not sure if this strategy worked great for staff retention, some ex-employees have said that many people only lasted a few years at Oracle before moving on.


Larry Ellison was CEO of Oracle for 35 years, which I think is an incredible achievement. I also believe that Oracle’s continued success in the new millennium was down to Ellison’s strategy of taking over other competitive software companies. Some of the companies Ellison targeted for takeover since 2000 included:

This allowed Oracle to expand its operations greatly and diversify into different markets.

I also think a major success of Ellison’s career was in the early 1990s when he restructured management at Oracle. The company made a quarterly loss for the first time in its history, and he realized that he was trying to run a billion-dollar company with the same management team when Oracle was only a smaller multi-million dollar company.

Even though I imagine getting rid of managers who had been with Oracle since the early days was hard, it proved to be an essential turning point in driving the company to the next level of success.

Larry Ellison Videos

Larry Ellison: I had all the disadvantages necessary for success

Larry Ellison: Billionaire Samurai Warrior of Silicon Valley

Larry Ellison Business Failures

Amassing a fortune of over $100 billion isn’t easy, and being a CEO of a major company for over 30 years will come with its fair share of ups and downs. While finding out more about Larry Ellison, I came across a few business failures mixed in with his undeniable success.

The first failure was in the late 1980s, almost bankrupting Oracle, and led to the significant management restructure that I mentioned above,

Until this point, Oracle’s sales tactics were based on selling as much software to each customer at once; however, this had the knock-on effect of drying up revenue for future licenses and ultimately led to the first quarter loss in Oracle’s history. Ellison himself admitted that this strategy was an incredible mistake and led to several class-action lawsuits and 10% of the company being laid-off.

Another business failure was Oracle’s desire to compete with Microsoft in the home PC market.

They put their support behind the Network Computer (NC), which relied on servers for its software. This didn’t take off as it wasn’t as efficient and fully functional as a PC, hence why Microsoft dominated this market and Oracle fell short. Ellison’s prediction that promoting NCs would slow Microsoft’s growth didn’t work, and I think we can attribute it as a failure of his in the 1990s.

Larry Ellison Family

Larry Ellison had an interesting upbringing, as his mother put him up for adoption when he was nine months old. Ellison was adopted by his aunt and uncle, who brought him up in Chicago.

The more I learned about Larry Ellison, particularly his intensity in business and management style, I wasn’t that surprised that he has been married four times. While he could be completely different in his personal life, I think that his personality must have caused some difficulties in his various marriages.

Ellison was married to:

  • Adda Quinn (m. 1967; div. 1974)​
  • Nancy Wheeler Jenkins (m. 1977; div. 1978)​
  • Barbara Boothe (m. 1983; div. 1986)​
  • Melanie Craft (m. 2003; div. 2010)

His two children, David and Megan, come from his marriage to Barbara Boothe. In fact, one interesting thing I found out was that Steve Jobs was the official wedding photographer when Ellison married Melanie Craft.

Ellison’s children, David and Megan, and film producers and Megan is known for producing high-profile films such as Zero Dark Thirty and American Hustle.

Larry Ellison and Career Earnings

Larry Ellison has a net worth of $107 billion. His base salary is really low; however, he gets stock options worth tens of millions of dollars every year from Oracle.

His net worth has almost doubled since 2020 from $59m to his current net worth of $107 billion in 2022. I suppose being head of Oracle for over 30 years and the company’s continued growth has brought Ellison this massive wealth, and Ellison owns over 36% of Oracle.

I also discovered that Ellison owns 1.7% of the shares in Tesla, and he is a director of the company.

Larry Ellison Real Estate Holdings

Considering Larry Ellison’s net worth, I’m not surprised that he has an extensive real estate portfolio that even includes an island.

According to many estimates, including Forbes, his real estate portfolio is over $1 billion. He owns 98% of the 6th largest island of Hawaii – Lanai – and a substantial list of other homes that the mega-wealthy can only buy. This includes:

  • Beechwood Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, that he bought for over $10 million and has apparently invested some $100 million into the property.
  • Cal Neva Lodge, on Lake Tahoe for $35.8 million
  • A home on Carbon Beach that he bought for $48 million
  • A Japanese-inspired home in Woodside, California that he has spent $200 million upgrading
  • A 246-acre estate in Porcupine Creek that he purchased for $43 million.

His most recent real estate investment is in Manalapan, Florida, and he bought the property for $173 million.

Larry Ellison Quotes

“Great achievers are driven, not so much by the pursuit of success, but by the fear of failure.”

“If you do everything that everyone else does in business, you’re going to lose. The only way to really be ahead is to ‘be different’.”

“The most important aspect of my personality as far as determining my success goes has been my questioning conventional wisdom, doubting experts and questioning authority. While that can be painful in your relationships with your parents and teachers, it’s enormously useful in life.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How much is Larry Ellison worth?

Answer: Larry Ellison has a current net worth of $107 billion. His wealth has come from being the co-founder of Oracle corporation, and he was the CEO for 35 years. He currently owns 36% of the company.

Question: How many properties does Larry Ellison own?

Answer: A lot. While I’m not surprised Larry Ellison has an extensive property portfolio, I was a bit shocked to learn that it is worth over $1 billion. He owns 98% of the Hawaiian island Lanai and sprawling estates and magnificent homes across America.

Question: Was Larry Ellison adopted?

Answer: Yes. Larry Ellison was born in New York to an unwed Jewish mother was put him up for adoption when he was nine months old. Ellison was adopted by his aunt and uncle and brought up in Chicago.

Question: How many times has Larry Ellison been married?

Answer: Larry Ellison has been married and divorced four times. He has two children, David and Megan, with Barbara Boothe (his third wife) and his most recent marriage was to Melaine Craft from 2003 – 2010.

Question: Is Larry Ellison a philanthropist?

Answer: Yes. Larry Ellison has given money to the Lawrence J. Ellison Musculo-Skeletal Research Center, $200m to the University of Southern California, and he has signed “The Giving Pledge” with 40 other billionaires.

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