Wednesday will be a big day in the life of Lawrence J Ellison, co-founder and chief executive officer of Oracle, multi-billionaire, defending champion of the America’s Cup and head of Oracle Team USA.
It will also present an interesting test of where his true allegiances lie. As the boat he bankrolled with tens of millions of dollars faces defeat, will he choose to front Oracle’s quarterly earnings call or be out on San Francisco bay?
After years of build-up, the moment of truth is at hand in the America’s Cup. Emirates Team New Zealand, the challenger, has a lead of seven points to one and need only win two of the remaining races to lift the trophy.
Racing on Tuesday was called off because of high winds, which means that the two races now scheduled for Wednesday could be decisive.
That poses something of a problem for Mr Ellison’s loyalties. The second and potentially final race, at 2.15 pm local time, is due to start 15 minutes after Oracle’s quarterly earnings call with Wall Street – an event that the Oracle CEO normally leads.
After two bad quarters in a row, Oracle shareholders have been getting jumpy lately, so they might appreciate having Mr Ellison around.
On the other hand, with the America’s Cup slipping from his grasp, could shareholders really hold it against him if he decides to be out on the bay?
For the record, Wall Street is expecting Oracle to report revenues of $8.48bn and earnings of 56 cents a share for its latest quarter. Those are probably easier targets to hit than the one facing Oracle Team USA, which must win six of the seven remaining races to stave off defeat.