Duffield is back

PeopleSoft founder moves new company to Pleasanton

Dave Duffield, the charismatic billionaire founder of PeopleSoft, is back in Pleasanton again with a new human resources and financial management solutions business--Workday--that may have even more global market potential than the software powerhouse he launched 21 years ago.

Duffield and his long-time partner and technology guru Aneel Bhusri cut the traditional ribbon Thursday afternoon on Workday's new headquarters at a five-story building at 6230 Stoneridge Mall Rd., still partly occupied by E-Loan, whose name is still on the building.

Several hundred employees joined the executives at an outdoor celebration along with Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, who welcomed long-time friend and city business leader Duffield back to Pleasanton.

Duffield said Workday's name will eventually replace the E-Loan sign on the building that is highly visible from I-680 near the Stoneridge Drive interchange.

Duffield started PeopleSoft in 1987, hired Bhusri 1992, and moved PeopleSoft from Walnut Creek to Pleasanton where the company became the city's biggest employer with more than 5,000 on its worldwide payroll.

In 2004, after a relentless pursuit by Oracle Corp. and its chairman Larry Ellison, Duffield bowed to shareholders and sold PeopleSoft to Oracle for $10.3 billion, an offer PeopleSoft's board couldn't refuse.

Duffield, who had returned to PeopleSoft from retirement to lead its defense against a hostile buyout by Oracle, said a tearful goodbye to hundreds of employees in Pleasanton who expected termination notices, and he returned to his home and family in Lake Tahoe.

Now he's back, committing $48 million in Workday along with Bhusri, now a partner at Greylock Partners, who has also invested $12 million in the new company. Workday sells software to big companies that they can access over the Web to run payroll, asset-tracking and other financials, which Duffield sees as an alternative to the suite of huge applications required by Oracle or SAP.

Following the same pattern as with PeopleSoft as it rapidly became a standard in its field with rapid growth, Duffield now is moving Workday from Walnut Creek to Pleasanton.

He told Pleasanton officials that Pleasanton, with its excellent major freeway interchange location and a second BART transit station set to open next year near the E-Loan office building, is an ideal headquarters site for high tech and software companies. At the start, 300 employees will be transferring to the new Workday location early next year.

"Workday delivers HR and financial management solutions via modern Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)," said Workday's spokeswoman Christine Cefalo.

"Since our launch in November 2006, we have been growing very rapidly and now have more than 300 employees," she added. "We have earned big name customers, including Flextronics,, Chiquita Brands International and many others. And now we're outgrown our facilities in Walnut Creek and wanted to settle into a location that provides us plenty of room to grow for the long term."

The news is especially good for City Manager Nelson Fialho, who said that he understands that 500 employees will soon call Workday home. This follows a decision by Oracle shortly after it acquired PeopleSoft to keep many of those employees on board. It since has increased it workforce and is now building a new five-story building near the Bart East station, which will mean adding more employees.

Another firm, Adept Technologies Inc., also has announced that it will relocate its headquarters from Livermore into two buildings in the Hacienda Business Center. The robotics firm will move its main offices to a 34,000-square-foot site at 5960 Inglewood Dr. and lease another 23,000 square feet for its manufacturing and research operations at 5627 Gibraltar Dr.

The robotics firm has about 125 employees who will make the move to Pleasanton.


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