Charles Phillips (businessman)
|Born||Charles Edward Phillips, Jr.
1959 (age 57)
Little Rock, Arkansas
|Occupation||CEO of Infor|
Prior to joining Infor, Phillips was co-president and director of Oracle Corporation from 2003 through 2010, and a managing director in the technology group at Morgan Stanley from 1994 to 2003. He is also a director at Viacom Corporation.
Early life and education
Charles E. Phillips, Jr. was born in June 1959 in Little Rock, Arkansas, where his father was stationed in the Air Force. During his childhood his family moved often from state to state, and to Europe as well.
Phillips was fascinated by computers and technology from an early age, and spent his spare time during high school building computers. His father expected at least one of his four sons to join the Air Force, and Phillips enrolled at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and earned a BS in computer science in 1981. When his eyesight did not meet the rigorous standard to be a pilot, he accepted a commission in the Marines. He joined as a Second Lieutenant, rising to the rank of Captain, and was stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where he worked on computer systems.
From 1981 to 1986, Phillips was in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines artillery unit at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, managing computer systems. He had joined as a Second Lieutenant and rose through the ranks to become a Captain.
Phillips began his civilian career in 1986, and he and his wife Karen moved to New York, where his wife had relatives. He joined BNY Mellon as Vice President of Software, and was at the company for four years. He then transferred to SoundView Technology Group, where he was Senior Vice President from 1990 through 1993, and Kidder Peabody, where he was Senior Vice President from 1990 through 1994.
Phillips spent his time on Wall Street nurturing relationships with hedge funders, venture capitalists, private equity executives, technology CEOs, and other business and financial leaders, and gained a reputation for being one of the most aggressive, connected, influential, and prolific technology investment analysts. Institutional Investor ranked him the number one Enterprise Software Industry Analyst for ten consecutive years, from 1994 to 2003.
Among Phillip's industry contacts during his Wall Street years was Oracle Corporation CEO Larry Ellison, who invited him to join Oracle in 2003. Phillips accepted, and served as co-president and director of Oracle from 2003 to 2010.
Phillips led Oracle's field organization, and during his tenure he oversaw the company's revenue growth of nearly 300%. He also played a key role in Oracle's long series of acquisitions of 70 companies, including PeopleSoft, BEA Systems, Hyperion Solutions, and Siebel Systems, among others. Responsible for Oracle’s sales and acquisitions, Phillips utilized his networking, negotiation, and closing skills, and became one of the highest-profile African-Americans in the technology industry in the mid 2000s. In 2007, InformationWeek called him "Oracle's Secret Weapon". After seven years growing the company, Phillips resigned from Oracle in September 2010.
In October 2010 Phillips was announced as CEO of Infor, the world’s third largest provider of enterprise applications and services, and the world’s largest privately owned software company. He was joined by several high-ranking Oracle executives. Within four months of being hired, he led Infor's $2 billion acquisition of Lawson Software, a competitor focused on the health care industry, and continued Infor's acquisitions at the rate of two or more per year. In October 2011, Phillips moved Infor's headquarters from the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Georgia to New York City's Silicon Alley.
Phillips immediately set about re-directing Infor and its efforts, instilling a corporate culture of camaraderie, goodwill, and reward. He also focused Infor on excellent design and product coherence, establishing product usability and highly attractive modern interface as key components in Infor's software lines. To optimize user experience design, Phillips and his team formed Hook & Loop, an internal creative agency of writers, designers, developers, and filmmakers who develop software that is beautiful and user-friendly and has social-media type elements. Infor now maintains a design directive of "work is beautiful", and Hook & Loop is one of the largest digital design agencies in New York City.
To further differentiate Infor from its competitors, including Oracle and SAP, he focused Infor on niche acquisitions: smaller companies, and highly specialized divisions within large corporations that are applicable to "micro-verticals" or unique sub-industries. Under his direction Infor updated big industry-specific applications from older software languages to .Net and Java programming languages. Phillips also changed Infor's focus from building scale to innovation and products. He refocused Infor towards enhanced product integration, and to custom-creating and fine-tuning software for the specific needs of individual industries. Within three years of his leadership, Infor launched 300 new products and hired 1,500 new engineers. Phillips also directed the company to open-source infrastructure.
At the 2014 Amazon Web Services Summit, Phillips gave the keynote address. He announced the launch of Infor CloudSuite, the first group of industry-specific application suites to be available on Amazon Web Services's cloud.
Advisorships and philanthropy
In February 2009, Phillips was appointed as a member to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board to provide President Barack Obama and his administration with advice and counsel in addressing the late-2000s recession.
Phillips has made large contributions to non-profits, schools, community groups, and civic groups. In 2010, he combined several of his charities into the Phillips Charitable Organization (PCO), a non-profit foundation. PCO’s primary focus is on helping single parents, wounded veterans, and students working towards engineering, science, technology, or mathematics degrees. PCO is a major backer of Harlem Village Academies.
Phillips is on the board of directors of the American Museum of Natural History, Viacom, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York Law School, the United States Air Force Academy Endowment Fund, and the Posse Foundation. He was also a Democratic Party delegate from New York in 2004.
- Institutional Investor's #1 Enterprise Software Industry Analyst (1994–2003)
- Black Enterprise's "Top 50 African Americans on Wall Street" (2002)
- Black Enterprise's "75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America" (2005)
- Arkansas Black Hall of Fame (2012)
- Business Insider's "46 Most Important African-Americans In Technology" (2013)
- Savoy Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America (2012–2014)
- Crain's 200 Most-Connected Business People in New York (2014)
Phillips and his wife Karen, whom he met in high school and married after college, live in Manhattan. They are jointly involved in philanthropy, including in particular the Phillips Charitable Organization, which they founded together in 2010. They have a son, Chas.
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- Phillips Charitable Organization
- "Phillips Charitable Announces Second Year of Grants". PhillipsCharitable.org. August 11, 2012.
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- Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America: Charles Phillips. Profile in Savoy magazine. SavoyNetwork.com. Spring 2014. (2012 listing ; 2013 listing ).
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- Charles E. Phillips, Jr. Crain's Most Connected New Yorkers. Crain's New York Business. 2014.
- Fahey, Mark. "Harvard dominates Crain's most-connected schools". Crain's New York Business. June 27, 2014.
- O'Connor, Anahad. "Oracle President Admits Affair After Billboards Appear". New York Times blogs. January 22, 2010.