Why he matters: Hyperion. Tangosol. AppForge. Lodestar. What do these software companies all have in common? Each was acquired by Oracle this year. CEO Larry Ellison gets the credit for setting Oracle's course -- before he set sail on his quest to capture the America's Cup -- but now it's Phillips who's actually steering the ship.
Managing Oracle's increasingly unwieldy product portfolio, the result of 31 acquisitions since 2005, is not an easy job. But if the company can maintain its momentum (17 percent profit growth in 2006) without screwing up its massive installed base, Ellison will know who to thank.