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Oracle Rebuffs Group’s Criticism of Executive Pay Packages

Oracle Corp., the world’s largest database-software maker, said Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison’s pay package is “appropriate,” responding to CtW Investment Group’s criticism of compensation for top managers.

Company founder Ellison is an “extremely valuable asset,” Dorian Daley, Oracle’s general counsel, wrote in a letter dated yesterday and filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company was responding to a note last week from CtW that urged Oracle to reform its pay practices.

Ellison’s pay package declined 18 percent to $78.4 million for fiscal 2013 after he gave up an annual bonus and the company missed some of its profit targets. Last month, the company gave a weaker-than-projected profit forecast for the second quarter, which ends in November. CtW wants Oracle to appoint a new director to oversee compensation, and opposes the use of stock options to pay Ellison and other executives.

“The board firmly believes that Oracle is one of the best-managed companies in the technology sector,” Daley wrote in the letter, which was addressed to Dieter Waizenegger, executive director of CtW Investment, which is part of the labor group Change to Win.

While CtW said it holds about 6 million shares of Oracle, there isn’t any record of the group owning any of the database maker’s shares, Daley wrote.

Michael Pryce-Jones, an analyst at CtW, said the group will continue to encourage shareholders to vote against Oracle’s executive compensation. Oracle plans to hold its annual meeting on Oct. 31.

“There’s nothing in there that’s substantive,” Pryce-Jones said in an interview. “They’ve shown no intent on reforming this.”

Deborah Hellinger, a spokeswoman for Redwood City, California-based Oracle, declined to provide additional comment.

Oracle shares were little changed at $33.68 at the close in New York. The stock is up 1.1 percent this year, compared with a 19 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

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