On Thursday, Larry Ellison announced the end of his 37-year reign as CEO at Oracle. Like the other hugely influential tech founders that have stepped down before him, including Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Ellison's entire professional career is largely defined by his time at the company he created.

Ellison started what was to become the software giant Oracle when he was in his early 30s. In the decades following, Ellison grew a multi-billion dollar business--and grew it fast. After eight years, he ranked number 61 on Inc.'s listing of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in America.

Meanwhile, his personal life drew nearly as much attention as his professional successes. He has been married and divorced four times. He owns yachts, planes, and many homes, and Forbes estimates his personal net worth is as much as $51.3 billion. 

Below is a brief look at the personal and professional milestones that the New-York born entrepreneur achieved before and then during his time in Silicon Valley.


Ellison drops out of the University of Chicago and moves to California.


He begins a project with a computer company involved in writing a relational database for the C.I.A.


Ellison teams up with Robert Miner and Edward Oates to found Software Development Laboratories with $2,000. They had intended to sell their relational database to the government, but when they finished their project ahead of schedule, they started developing software for businesses. 


The company gets a facelift and changes its name to the Oracle Corporation.


On March 12, Oracle goes public with an offering price of $15.


Ellison, known for his contrarian views, predicts the death of the personal computer.


Apple's returning CEO Steve Jobs appoints Ellison to the board of directors. (The Oracle CEO would resign in 2002, citing his busy schedule.)


The Associated Press names him the top-paid chief executive America. AP estimates that his personal fortune is $25 billion. 


After fierce competition with both IBM and Hewlett-Packard, Oracle's bid to acquire competitor Sun Microsystems is approved by regulators. This same year, Ellison hired fired HP CEO Mark Hurd and named him co-president. 


In September, Ellison's sailboat racing team, Oracle Team USA, won the America's Cup competition.

August 17 2014

He celebrates his 70th birthday. 

September 18 2014

Ellison steps down as Oracle's CEO and assumes his new role as executive chairman.