Larry Ellison
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has resigned after 37 yearsCreative Commons

Larry Ellison, one of the world's richest men and hailed as one the finest businessmen ever, has resigned from software company Oracle after 37 years acting as its CEO.

In a glittering spell at Oracle, which he founded in 1977, Ellison became the world's highest paid CEO after guiding the software manufacturer to a $185 billion valuation.

Now 70 years old, he has stepped down and will be replaced by current co-presidents Mark Hurd and Safra Catz. Hurd will run sales, marketing and strategy, whilst Catz will act as chief financial officer and also oversee legal and manufacturing operations.

Ellison will now become the California company's chairman, and will retain the post of chief technology officer. Oracle shares fell following announcement of his resignation.

"Safra and Mark will now report to the Oracle board rather than to me," Ellison said.

"All the other reporting relationships will remain unchanged. The three of us have been working well together for the last several years, and we plan to continue working together for the foreseeable future."

Spoken about in the same breath as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, or just a little bit after, Ellison is valued by Forbes at $51 billion, making him the fifth richest man in the world.

He is known for flaunting his wealth, having bought up much of Malibu, Califonia and his own Hawaiian island.

Recently, Oracle growth has been sluggish, its software out done by emerging cloud technologies, and it has refocused on hardware and industry-specific technology.

Ellison's trademark business strategy was relentless acquisitions, with Oracle known for buying dozens of companies to wipe out competitors.