A senior executive at high-tech giant Oracle announced his resignation in protest after the company’s co-CEO agreed to join US President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team.
George Polisner, who had worked at Oracle, a database software and technology company, on and off since 1993, filed his letter of resignation on Monday and also posted the text online to his Linkedin personal webpage.
The development came after Trump met with some of America’s most powerful tech executives last week in a bid to mend fences with a largely pro-Hillary Clinton industry and promote job creation and trade.
Among those at the meeting was Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz, an Israeli-born business executive who said before the get-together at Trump Tower in New York that she would support the next administration.
“I plan to tell the president-elect that we are with him and will help in any way we can,” Catz said. “If he can reform the tax code, reduce regulation and negotiate better trade deals, the US technology industry will be stronger and more competitive than ever.”
Following the meeting, Catz accepted an invitation to join the Trump administration transition team.
Polisner, who addressed his resignation letter to Catz, wrote that “Trump stokes fear, hatred and violence toward people of color, Muslims and immigrants. It is well-known that hate crimes are surging as he has provided license for this ignorance-based expression of malice.”
“I am not with President-elect Trump and I am not here to help him in any way. In fact – when his policies border on the unconstitutional, the criminal and the morally unjust – I am here to oppose him in every possible and legal way.”
“Therefore I must resign from this once great company.”
— George A. Polisner (@FoamingPenguin) December 19, 2016
Speaking to the Guardian newspaper in an interview published Wednesday, Polisner, who is described as a “progressive political activist” and who is chair of the Democratic central committee in his home county in Oregon, said his resignation is “a demonstration, a credible action as opposed to an expression of frustration.”
He maintained that he would not have publicized the letter if Catz had left Oracle to work with Trump, rather than remaining at the company.
“I would have been disappointed in her personally, but I would have respected her decision,” he said.
Despite his views on Trump and his resignation, Polisner said he supports the idea of the technology meeting and that it was important for industry leaders to attend.
“There’s incredible intellectual capacity in the technology space that can be used for good, so the meeting was appropriate for expressing how technology companies see the way forward. It’s better to have a seat at the table,” he said.
Five weeks before 70-year-old property tycoon Trump is scheduled to take office as head of the world’s most powerful democracy, the participants at the December 14 summit discussed improving America’s cybersecurity, repatriating US profits stashed overseas, and market access with China, among other topics, according to the Trump transition team.
Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence sat side-by-side in the middle of the table surrounded by CEOs that included Tim Cook of Apple, Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Larry Page of Alphabet (Google).
The executives attending also included Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Tesla and SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg as well as Catz.
The most glaring absence was Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey — even more so given the president-elect’s prolific use of the social network and its expanding list of 17.3 million followers.
Politico reported that Twitter was “bounced” from the meeting in retribution for refusing during the campaign to allow an emoji version of the hashtag #CrookedHillary.
While the tech industry is likely to oppose any trade barriers or efforts to limit immigration, many companies are expected to welcome a lowering of corporate tax rates promised by Trump, especially on profits repatriated from overseas.
Tech firms led by Apple are responsible for the lion’s share of an estimated $2.5 trillion being held overseas by US companies, which are reluctant to bring those funds back and face a hefty tax bill.
A potential clash between Trump and the sector is possible over encryption, and the ability of law enforcement and intelligence services to decrypt devices for national security investigations.
Trump said he would add Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to his advisory council of business leaders tasked with helping to create new jobs “across the United States from Silicon Valley to the heartland.”