SAN FRANCISCO — 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 seawater into freshwater on the 141-square-mile island of Lanai, which is near Maui. He also wants to see more electric cars on Lanai and hopes to increase its fruit exports to Japan and other markets.
Ellison, one of the world's wealthiest men, made the remarks Tuesday in San Francisco in an interview with the financial news channel CNBC.
The interview focused mostly on Oracle Corp., a business-software maker that Ellison has been running for 35 years. Oracle's success has minted Ellison an estimated fortune of $41 billion. He bought 98 percent of Lanai from billionaire David Murdock in June for an undisclosed price. The Maui News reported that Murdock, the CEO of Castle & Cooke Inc., was seeking $500 million to $600 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 3,200 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."