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Grundfest

Oracle is essentially booting the respected law professor, Joe Grundfest because he has joined a special Stanford group that specializes in corporate governance.

Here is the Merc story on the details. Our two cents: We find this a bit odd, but suppose it is understandable given the reputation Oracle has for being “tough.” We’ve followed Grundfest’s history at Oracle over the years, and it is noteworthy.

We interviewed Grundfest twice about his role on a special Oracle board committee that concluded chief executive Ellison hadn’t done anything wrong during an insider trading controversy a few years ago. We did so because we thought it smelled. A Delaware judge had rejected the committee’s conclusions, saying the committee was conflicted. Indeed, Ellison has contributed all kinds of money to Stanford, where Grundfest worked, and so on. We cross-examined Grundfest on this, but ultimately decided not to do a special story at the time, in part because the court process about Ellison’s insider trading allegations was moving on, and it was possible that Ellison would be exonerated independently of Grundfest’s recommendations.

But it is interesting that it comes full-circle, and that Grundfest is being asked to leave because of his own supposed conflicts — and yet conflicts you’d think could only be beneficial to Oracle.

By the way, we still haven’t heard the final word on the Ellison insider trading case, and so the jury is literally still out on all this — including on Grundfest’s original recommendations about Ellison’s insider trading issue.