October 24, 2013
Communications and Marketing
Robert K. Weiler '73, executive vice president of Global Business Units, Oracle Corporation, was the keynote speaker at the Saint Anselm College Corporate Partners Program's breakfast series today. He discussed successful business practices, drawing on his more than 35 years of experience in the technology industry.
Weiler is a former chairman of the college's board of trustees and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Saint Anselm in 2000. He has held numerous executive positions and won awards for leadership and excellence in technology and business.
Michael Sheehan '82, chairman of the advertising agency Hill Holliday, introduced the speaker to a packed auditorium at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.
The Oracle executive emphasized the rapid pace of change in the technology industry.
"Ninety percent of the world's data have been generated in the last two years," he said. "How to store it and manage it are critical issues, and there is a shortage of qualified statisticians and data analysts to do these jobs. This is the biggest transformation in technology and it's forcing every business to change. People misquote Darwin. It's not the strongest or the most intelligent that survive: it's those species that can adapt to change."
The Oracle executive described the many lessons he has learned since becoming a CEO at the age of 32, "knowing everything there was to know about everything." Among those lessons was the realization that people are the most important asset in any formula for success. "It's about culture. It's about people, not so much mechanics."
He made comparisons to his experience with Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup yacht races, saying that teamwork and collaboration are critical. He noted that he has been responsible for turnarounds of eight companies that were not thriving.
"There are hundreds of businesses in body bags along the wayside. What happened? I've basically made it my career to go in and figure that out," he said.
Weiler said he was prepared for his career by his liberal arts education, even though he never took a business course. "Saint Anselm is a fabulous institution that teaches you lessons you can use for life," he said, adding that he is still learning. "I've never worked harder to read and study and learn what I need to know."
The Corporate Partners Program is a collaboration between Saint Anselm College and leading businesses in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.