A farewell to PeopleSoft Culture

Steve Hamm

During the go-go 1990s, software maker PeopleSoft gained a reputation for having one of the best corporate cultures in the land. That was thanks to founder and then-ceo Dave Duffield--who treated employees and customers with near reverence. Well, PeopleSoft is no more. It was absorbed in January in a $9.3 billon hostile takeover by rival Oracle. But the last vestiges of the company's famed culture live on--at least for the moment.

Anxious to soften the blow for more than 3,000 employees who lost their jobs Jan. 14, Duffield and others have set up organizations to help. They include The Safety Net, which makes grants of up to $10,000 to help PeopleSofters in need, and to which Duffield, 64, has pledged more than $5 million. Another group, The PeopleSoft Alumni Network has set up bulletin boards to help people find jobs. On Apr. 12, the network is staging an online job fair for recruiters worldwide.

Is this the last gasp of Duffield's legacy? Maybe not. Steve Tennant, a former PeopleSoft exec who runs the Alumni Network and advises Silicon Valley startups, sees himself as something of an evangelist. "If I can plant little cultural seeds in these companies, it's a great thing," he says. "There could be 100 little PeopleSofts a few years from now." Hear, hear.

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