Infor CEO Charles Phillips describes himself as a person who gravitates towards engineering and things with rules that are complicated. Knowing that he can build a business and career around something so complex is what excites him. The former No. 2 guy to Larry Ellison at Oracle is the No. 1 guy a Infor, the enterprise apps development company which competes directly with SAP and Oracle. With more than 73,000 customers in 200 countries—including Ferrari, Boeing and Cleveland Clinic— Infor is positioning itself to be the leader within the tech industry.
I had the opportunity to speak with Phillips from his Manhattan office about Infor, where his interests in tech began and how we begin to increase African American representation within the world of tech.
When did your interest in tech begin?
I got exposed to computers and tech at an early age and took to it right away. My interest really kicked into gear while in high school. This was when PCs were just being introduced to the general public. They were not packaged products that you could buy, but you could purchase the components to build PCs. I was fortunate enough to have a gentlemen who owned a PC parts store take me under his wing. He noticed me starring at the parts in the store and saw my interest in computers.
At that time there was not a formal PC industry, but a community of hobbyists. I joined a couple of clubs that would get together, build PCs and discuss what we made. This is where I really picked up the love of technology which led me to major in computer science in college, and I have been doing something with computers ever since. My passion for technology continued to evolve over time and my love for new technology grew with it.
Check out more of Phillips’ insights on how to increase African American exposure to careers in the industry on the next page …