Orange County Business Journal

Western Digital CEO Set to Retire

Chris Casacchia Monday, September 10, 2012

Western Digital Corp. Chief Executive John Coyne, who guided the company through a tumultuous year to regain its position as the world’s top seller of disk drives, will retire in January.

President Steve Milligan, who rejoined Western Digital earlier this year following its $4.3 billion buy of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Ltd., is set to replace Coyne.

Coyne, 63, has served as CEO since January 2007.

He first joined the company in 1983, and has helped it overcome major hurdles in his tenure.

The last year alone saw him lead Western Digital’s priciest acquisition to date as he oversaw recovery efforts in the wake of devastating floods that crippled operations in Thailand for months.

Milligan, 49, rejoined Western Digital after the Hitachi deal closed in March and was named president in late July. He had worked for the company from 2004 to 2007, before going to Hitachi as chief financial officer. He later became CEO.

Western Digital’s shares are down about 1% in early afternoon trading to a market value of $10.24 billion.

Hard-disk drives store and allow access to data. Western Digital’s disk drives go into computers, external storage devices, corporate networks and consumer electronics such as DVR players.