CALIFORNIA: Former Bill Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart has
left tech firm Oracle after seven months as senior vice-president and
adviser to CEO Larry Ellison.
Lockhart is in talks with former Al Gore aides, Carter Eskew and Mike
Feldman, to launch their own media consultancy.
One of Lockhart's close allies confirmed the talks but added: 'This is
not a done deal.'
Lockhart told PRWeek: 'I can confirm I'm leaving,' but added that
speculation about a rift with Ellison was untrue.
'The truth is pretty easy. We talked about the job and said it should be
based at Oracle headquarters (in Redwood, CA). We discussed various
scenarios to get me to go out there, but ultimately I wanted to stay on
the East Coast.'
Lockhart joked: 'I just wish he'd move his company to Washington.'
Even since he joined Oracle, Lockhart had been linked to a part-time job
at Edelman, though he turned it down because of a conflict with Oracle
rival Microsoft, an Edelman client.
Eskew, a former partner at BSMG, has been considering his options since
the outcome of the presidential election was decided in December.
While Lockhart would not expand on speculation, he promised that a
decision would be made within weeks.
Lockhart joined Oracle last December (PRWeek, 8 December 2000).
His appointment followed the departure of several high-profile
executives, including former president and CEO Ray Lane, who is believed
to have left due to Ellison's domineering style.
Before joining the White House in 1997, Lockhart was national press
secretary for the Clinton-Gore 1996 re-election campaign.
Previously, he was also a senior vice-president of Robinson Lerer Sawyer
He has worked as a journalist in the US for Sky News, CNN and ABC
In Ireland, Oracle recently hired Bill O'Herlighy Communications on a
six-figure brief to raise its profile across the country and handle all
media relations (PRWeek, 15 December 2000).
Oracle has sales for 2000 exceeding pounds 7bn and employs 40,000 staff