Mike Gregoire Gave Up A Life Of Mountain Biking To Revamp A $4 Billion Company


Mike Gregoire Leadville trophy

Mike Gregoire

Mike Gregoire (center) shows off his trophy after finishing the Leadville 100 mountain bike race

In January, CA Technologies hired a new CEO: Mike Gregoire, the former CEO of Taleo who sold that company to Oracle in 2012 for $1.9 billion.


Business Insider had a chance to chat with Gregoire about the Taleo deal, his life after the sale, and his new job.

Prior to selling Taleo, Gregoire had a long and not-very wonderful history with Oracle. He had been a vice president at PeopleSoft during Oracle’s hostile takeover in 2004, one of the nastiest takeovers in tech history. Years ago Gregoire had described that time as "18 months of continuous bombardment from Oracle."

But he told us that when Oracle came sniffing around Taleo, it was a pleasant experience.

"The way they handled PeopleSoft was completely different than how they handled Taleo. The people I dealt with — Larry Ellison, Safra Catz — were professional," he said.


As CEO, Gregoire had an obligation to let go of the past. "The only question you can ask yourself is, 'Is it right for shareholders?' That's your job as a CEO."

With Taleo, Oracle was "willing to pay a premium" and it was good for shareholders to get that money up front, rather than face "the risks of growing into that valuation," he told us. "And at a 49% premium, that's good for shareholders." So the deal was done.

Gregoire seemed genuinely happy about it though it's not hard to see why. The deal also cashed him out of his Taleo stake of about 233,000 shares, according to Insidermonkey.com. At $46 per share, that's $10.7 million. And he didn't have to work at Oracle for Ellison.

Mike Gregoire CA Technologies

CA Technologies

CA CEO Mike Gregoire

Instead the 46-year-old Gregoire set his sights on enjoying life and mountain bike racing. He competed in the Leadville 100 race, the most difficult, highest-elevation endurance race in the US. He also did The Tahoe Trail 100 mountain bike race and spent time with his two young kids. "I drove them to school and did a lot of traveling with family."

But when CA Technologies came calling with a CEO job, much to his wife's chagrin, he took the job, and moved his family from his homes in the Valley and Tahoe to the east coast. CA is based in Island ia, N.Y.


What lured him to take on this $4 billion, old-school enterprise software company struggling to remake itself in the age of cloud computing?

"CA has a lot of customers, a lot of cash, a lot of patents on things that matter," he said. As an endurace mountain bike racer, Gregoire seems like he has the stamina for this new challenge, too.