Who is Larry Ellison?

Tennis fans often talk about a guy named Larry Ellison, the face behind the massive BNP Paribas Open tournament. But who is he?

Ellison is a dropout, twice over no less: from the University of Chicago and from the University of Illinois at Urbana. Mostly, Ellison is filthy rich, with a net worth of over $50 billion according to his Wikipedia page, or $48.6 billion according to Forbes; it’s a difference of a billion dollars but either way, it means he’s got money.

How did Ellison make his money? He was the co-founder and, from its founding until September 2014, served as chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation. For the last year, he’s only been chief technological officer and executive chairman.

Still, according to Forbes, the 71-year-old is No. 3 on the Forbes 400 list. We’re not so sure what that list is, but No. 3 on said list seems high enough. He was also No. 3 in 2014 on that same list. Plus, he is the second richest in tech in 2015, the fifth richest billionaire in the world and third richest in the United States. He was also listed as the 58th most powerful person in the world in 2013. Finally, Ellison was also in Forbes’s 2015 “The richest person in every state,” another list we’d rather see our name on than not if we had a choice. 

So Ellison is all of this. He also could have been the new owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors but then-owner Chris Cohan preferred a different group’s bid despite Ellison’s being the highest one. “Oh well,” is probably how Ellison reacted.

Cut it whichever way you’d like, Ellison is one rich person—and he’s the one overseeing the Indian Wells tournament every year. Maybe having the backing of such a powerful man is how the event can offer more than $10 million in prize money to pros from the ATP World Tour and the WTA Tour?

But wait, there’s more. He’s quite the philanthropist for one thing, having donated up to 1 per cent of his wealth to charity. Here’s where some may say, “Big whoop, 1 per cent of however many billions is still just 1 per cent.” Right, but how much have you given of your money to charity? And have you signed The Giving Pledge like Ellison has? “Many years ago, I put virtually all of my assets into a trust,” he writes in the pledge, “with the intent of giving away at least 95 per cent of my wealth to charitable causes.”

So Larry Ellison? Rich dude, but also good dude. What else? He’s a dad to a son who was among the producers of The Terminator and Mission: Impossible, and a daughter who financed movies like Zero Dark Thirty and American Hustle. He’s done well for himself and his family.

Ellison also has been successful in yachting with Oracle Team USA and has his aircraft pilot license. You’ll say that anyone can get theirs and, sure there’s some truth to this—but not anyone can have his own two military jets.

At Indian Wells, he often attends the matches in person. Like you, he’s incredulous when he witnesses Roger Federer’s magic.


Tennis & Travels is a new column that applauds the readers who do decide to combine business with pleasure. Because life is short, and you should travel and play tennis—maybe even do both at once.

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG


Photo: Oracle PR (Flickr)

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