Oracle CEO Larry Ellison envisions his recently acquired Hawaiian island becoming a “little laboratory” for experimenting with more environmentally sound ways to live.
Ellison’s ambitions include converting sea water into fresh water on the 141-square-mile island of Lanai. He also wants to see more electric cars on the island located near Maui, and hopes to increase its fruit exports to Japan and other markets.
Ellison, one of the world’s wealthiest men, made the remarks on Tuesday in San Francisco in an interview with the financial news channel CNBC.
The interview focused mostly on Oracle, a business-software maker that Ellison has been running for 35 years. He also touched upon several other topics, including his friendship with the late Steve Jobs and his interest in buying the Los Angeles Lakers, if the professional basketball team were ever for sale.
Oracle’s success has minted Ellison an estimated fortune of $US41 billion. He bought 98 per cent of Lanai from billionaire David Murdock in June for an undisclosed price. The Maui News reported that Murdock, the CEO of Castle & Cooke, was seeking $US500 million to $US600 million for his Lanai holdings.
Ellison hadn’t publicly shared his vision for Lanai until Tuesday’s interview. The silence had left Lanai’s roughly 3200 residents wondering whether their lives would be disrupted under Ellison’s ownership.
In Tuesday’s interview, Ellison said he intends to “support the local people”.
Ellison’s Lanai holdings include two resorts, two golf courses and assorted commercial and residential buildings. Three utilities on the island also are under Ellison’s control