PeopleSoft founder in pledge of independence

Dave Duffield, PeopleSoft's founder and largest individual shareholder, has said he does not intend to sell the software company to Oracle, despite the speculation that has swirled since he returned to run the company earlier this month.

In an internal e-mail to employees, a copy of which was obtained by FT Deutschland, the FT's sister newspaper, Mr Duffield declared: ?I didn't come back here to sell to Oracle.?

Instead, he wrote, ?I'm here to beat Oracle in the marketplace, increase our revenues, re-energise our employees and deliver greater long-term value to our shareholders.?

The e-mail is the first evidence of Mr Duffield's declared intention since returning to head the company he founded. Already the chairman and largest shareholder, with 7.6 per cent of PeopleSoft's stock, he returned as chief executive after Craig Conway was sacked at the start of this month.

The departure of Mr Conway, who had been vehemently opposed to any sale to Oracle, together with Mr Duffield's age he is 64 led to speculation that the executive shake-up might leave the software company more open to a deal.

His return came on the same day that the Department of Justice dropped its efforts to block the potential acquisition.

In the e-mail to PeopleSoft's 11,000 employees, Mr Duffield wrote: ?The honest answer is: ?I'm not here to sell. Rather, I'm here to buy.'?

Mr Duffield said he was looking to buy a house near the company's headquarters in Pleasanton, California. Subject to some issues ?kids' schools and the like? the purchase would go through by the end of this month.

Mr Duffield also said he planned to lay out a new five-year vision for PeopleSoft and called on employees to make sure the company performed well in the final months of this year.

Mr Conway had blamed PeopleSoft's weak second quarter on uncertainty among customers caused by the Oracle bid, although the company has shaken off some of the doubts with a stronger showing in the third quarter.

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