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Charles Phillips, Jr.

Corporate executive Charles E. Phillips, Jr. was born in June of 1959 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended the United States Air Force Academy, where he received his B.S. degree in computer science in 1981. Phillips served first as a second lieutenant, and then as captain in the United States Marine Corps, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines from 1981 to 1986 at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He received his M.B.A degree from Hampton University in 1986 and his J.D. degree from the New York Law School in 1993.

In 1986, Phillips was named vice president of software for the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. He worked as senior vice president of SoundView Technology Group from 1990 to 1993, and senior vice president of Kidder Peabody from 1990 to 1994. Phillips then landed a job as a principal with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's Institutional Securities Division in 1994, and was promoted to managing director in 1995. Then, in 2003, Phillips was hired by Oracle Corporation in Redwood Shores, California, as executive vice president of strategy, partnerships, and business development. He was appointed president and a member of the board of directors of Oracle in 2004, where he remained until 2010. In 2010, Phillips was named chief executive officer of Infor, an ERP software provider headquartered in New York City.

He serves on the boards of Infor, Viacom Corporation, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York Law School, the American Museum of Natural History, the United States Air Force Academy Endowment Fund, and Posse Foundation. Phillips is also a board member of his family foundation, Phillips Charitable Organizations, which provides financial aid for single parents, students interested in engineering, and wounded veterans. In February 2009, he was appointed as a member of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board in order to provide U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration with advice and counsel in addressing the late-2000s recession.

Phillips was recognized by Institutional Investor magazine as the Number One Enterprise Software Industry Analyst from 1994 to 2003. He was also named by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the Top 50 African Americans on Wall Street in 2002.

Charles Phillips was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 11, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.099

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/11/2014

Last Name

Phillips

Maker Category
Middle Name

E.

Schools

United States Air Force Academy

Hampton University

New York Law School

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

PHI07

Favorite Season

Late Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Madrid, Spain

Favorite Quote

Semper Fi

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/10/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Paella

Short Description

Corporate chief executive Charles Phillips, Jr. (1959 - ) is the CEO of Infor. He also served as president of Oracle from 2004 to 2010, and is a founder and board member of Phillips Charitable Organizations.

Employment

United States Marine Corps

Bank of New York Mellon Corporation

SoundView Technology Group

Kidder Peabody

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

Oracle Corporation

Infor

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Phillips, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Phillips, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his childhood experience with the U.S. Air Force and enrolling at the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his mother's family background and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his brothers

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory and his experience living in Madrid, Spain

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the American schools abroad and his father's interest in current events

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his father's opinion of the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the American school in Madrid, Spain and Lakeshore High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes Lakeshore High School in Atlanta, Georgia and playing basketball

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his parents and brothers in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his decision to enroll at the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his interest in computers and computer programming, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his interest in computers and computer programming, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles Phillips, Jr. recalls his nomination by Nelson Rockefeller to attend the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes enrolling at the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the student body population at the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the challenges of increasing African American attendance at the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the pressure of attending the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his decision to serve his commission in the United States Marine Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about meeting his wife, Karen Phillips

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his experience in the United States Marine Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes leaving the United States Marine Corps to attend an M.B.A. program at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes starting his career at the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation on Wall Street

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about working in investment banking with a background in technology rather than in finance

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the progression of his career on Wall Street

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his success as a software analyst on Wall Street

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes technology analysts on Wall Street during the late 1980s and 1990s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about working with Mary Meeker and Frank Quattrone at Morgan Stanley

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about becoming a managing director in Morgan Stanley's technology group in 1995

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the leading people and companies in the software industry during his time as an analyst

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his investment strategy during the dot-com bubble

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the development of technology in the United States and abroad in the early 2000s

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about Stanford's University's role in Silicon Valley

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about technological innovation

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about Morgan Stanley's merger with Dean Witter Reynolds in 1997

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about leaving Morgan Stanley to work at Oracle Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his acquisition strategy at Oracle Corporation, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his acquisition strategy at Oracle Corporation, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his goals at Oracle Corporation and the difference between enterprise software and personal software

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the history and security of cloud computing

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes becoming the CEO of Infor in 2010

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the importance of design and ease of use in Infor's software

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about moving Infor to New York City, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the development of Infor's internal creative agency, Hook & Loop, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the development of Infor's internal creative agency, Hook & Loop, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the growth of Infor since he became CEO

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes Infor's acquisition of Lawson Software in 2011

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the percentage of cloud business at Infor

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the use of open source databases and operating systems at Infor

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the future of big data and automation

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Charles Phillips, Jr. reflects on his career path

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the Phillips Charitable Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the legacy of the post-Civil Rights generation

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Charles Phillips, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$2

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Charles Phillips, Jr. describes starting his career at the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation on Wall Street
Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his father's opinion of the U.S. Air Force
Transcript
So this is your late twenties too, though.$$Yeah.$$You're still young. How do you end up with the Bank of New York Mellon [Corporation]? I mean, is that your first--$$That was my first job. I didn't know anybody in New York [New York City, New York]. Then, my mother-in-law was living in New York. My wife's [Karen Phillips] family is from the New York area. She said you just need to start applying and see what you can do. So all I did was start writing a bunch of different financial institutions like "I just got out of the Marines, I'd like to come live in New York, I don't have any financial experience but I'm a quick learner. I've learned engineering" and, to my view, it's harder than finance. I think I sent out 200 letters. I got like 190 rejections 'cause people didn't value the military experience at that time and the whole engineering, it just-- especially in New York without any military bases here, they hadn't been around it. It has changed some now, we respect it now. But back then--remember this is--remember this is '80s [1980] when--. People would tell me "You seem like you're so smart, so why would you go to the military if you're that smart?" I said, "Well, you can be smart--it's not oxymoron, people do things for other than money sometimes because they have a commitment," so I had to explain that. And so, it was looking pretty bleak actually and then the Bank of New York, I wrote the guy and said, "Will you meet with me?" He said, "Yes, let me know the next time you're in town." I came to town and had trouble pinning him down, but I finally badgered him into a meeting. I realized as soon as I walked into his office, I waited all day to see him. He had a name plaque on his desk with an eagle, globe, and anchor-- had his last name with an eagle, globe, and anchor next to it, which was the Marine Corp emblem, so I knew his dad was a Marine and that's why he met with me. Once I saw that, I was, "Okay, I know why I'm here. I know I'm going to get this job now," so we start talking and within twenty minutes, we're laughing and talking about everything. He said, "All right, I'll give you a shot." And I said, "That's all I'm asking for a shot, and let me get started, and if I fail, fire me in six months. You'll never hear from me again. I'll work for whatever you think it is. I didn't know what it was worth. You tell me. I'll work for anything. I just want a shot." And he gave it to me. And--$$And you were hired to do what, Charles?$$So he hired me into--they had a mini training program, so I went around to different departments and that lasted about six months. I worked in the credit department, analyzing financial statements, and then he assigned me in the research department for analyzing stocks because I like analyzing things. So I said, "I can do that. I'll figure that out." So I got there. And they weren't sure what to do with me. So I said, "The thing I know about is computers, why don't you let me follow computer stocks and I can tell you a lot about that?" But I didn't know about the stock market. I go, "I don't, but I know the products work and I know why people buy them. I know if they're good or not." That, what seemed to be important because everybody else was an accountant or had some finance thing they were really good at. I said, "Yeah, I'll get to learning the stock market," but none of them could tell you what the products--if the products--that's what I know. And that was the unique thing I had, so they said, "Okay, do that." And the computer industry stock market was just starting. That's when Microsoft [Corporation] was just becoming public. Oracle [Corporation] had just became public, so it was a little side industry, especially the area I specialized in, which was the enterprise area, the more complex software. There were very few people even paying--they were scared of those stocks because they didn't understand them, and they were small companies. No one paid attention to them, so I said, "I'm just going to do that, and I will explain the reason these companies exist, how it's gonna change, I think it's going to be a big industry. Computers are going to be more prevalent. I already knew all that from the last seven years working with the stuff that it was growing in importance, but I didn't how long it would take. But I knew it was going to be big at some point. And a lot of the ways they used to do things on the old, giant computers with the cards and all that stuff--all these new computers because I've been building them, are going to be more powerful and more efficient way to do it, and this is going to get big. And here are the software companies that are going to help automate that, and I'll just do that, and explain to people why that's going to happen, and the shift from mainframes to PCs [personal computers] and all that." And they said, "We don't understand a thing you're saying, but it sounds like you know what you're talking about, so go ahead and do that." So I started basically visiting those companies, writing reports about them, and explaining to investors why they should invest, and then eventually made it to the investment banking firm and started doing the mergers and acquisitions, and seeing how the industry worked. I knew everybody in the industry because that is all I was doing (unclear).$$Now you were at what investment bank firm?$$So I ended up at Kidder, Peabody [& Co.]--(simultaneous)--$$Kidder, Peabody--(simultaneous)--$$--and then to Morgan Stanley.$What, what rank does your father [Charles Phillips, Sr.] have, you know, what rank is he--?$$(simultaneous) He retired a Senior master sergeant [in the U.S. Air Force], which is, for the enlisted, the second highest you can go, so he did pretty well, but he was enlisted though, yeah.$$And so is he--do you ever hear discussions about him being frustrated at all, or, you know, is he of the generation that the service really opened up, you know, a lot of opportunities?$$He is grateful for the opportunity to serve his country and it gave him tremendous opportunities. So, there-- He told me a story that four years into the service, you have to decide whether you want to re-up, or reenlist, and continue; and he came home in his uniform, had some time off for a week. And one of the guys he went to high school with tried to talk him out of reenlisting and said, "Come back here to Clinton, Oklahoma," which really it's only 5,000 people, "and we'll open up a liquor store." And he said, "I thought about it, and I almost did it," and then said, "You know what, there's just gotta be better something. I haven't seen in four years, but there's--but I've seen enough to say, there's other ways of thinking and I want to learn more, and I decided against. I went and re-uped and went back and left." So he goes back, 10 or 15 years later, the guy actually did open a liquor store and, of course, is destitute, barely surviving, like a shack about to fall over, and selling liquor. He said, "You see, that would have been me if I had made that decision and said, "No, I just don't want to make that decision, no I don't want to do that, even though he was one of my best friends, I would have been stuck there for the rest of my life, you know." And so he views that, the fact that he got out through the military as a huge--so do I. I was so glad did. It changed his life. Nonetheless, the fact that that was his only choice is a function of many other things that he obviously not happy about. So it was just this dual feeling. On the one hand, I 'm grateful for this opportunity, and I want to serve my country because they gave me this opportunity; on the other hand, I should have had more opportunity like everybody else did and didn't like the way he was being treated, so--$$So this-- some of this you're hearing around the dinner table and at home.$$Yeah, this conflict and anger, and yet the appreciation of being part of the country, and yet "My country should have treated me better," all those things, you know. All those things were discussed and, you know, I'd tried to understand in a way because we grew up in an environment that I had never seen before and I tried to place myself there and see if I would be as angry, you know.$$So you're hearing a lot about, you know, this person, you know, I didn't get treated right, you know. And then the Marines are--they were still --the Marines were a hard place--you know, we had--well the Montford Point Marines [Montford Point Marine Association]. I think Navy was worse. Navy was worse as a branch of service.$$(simultaneous) Yeah.