WD chief limbers up

Western Digital COO prepares to take control of global strategy in January 2007 after being promoted to CEO

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By  Published  November 30, 2006

Western Digital has revealed that company veteran John Coyne will make the CEO’s chair his own in early January when he replaces outgoing chief Arif Shakeel. Former boss Shakeel is stepping down following a lengthy tenure with the firm to take up a temporary advisory role instead.

Coyne is presently Western Digital’s COO, but has held a variety of operational, sales and customer satisfaction roles since joining the company in 1983 when he established a controller board manufacturing facility in his native Ireland. Earlier this year he was promoted to COO after serving as VP for Western Digital’s worldwide operations for five years.

Coyne — who has also joined the board of directors — will be under no illusions as to the size of the shoes he is filling. Former CEO Shakeel turned Western Digital from a loss making hardware manufacturer into a profitable outfit with sales of more than US$4 billion a year during his period in charge.

Quarterly results released by Western Digital last month confirmed the strong progress that the company continues to make. It raked in sales of US$1.3 billion from shipping 22.7 million hard drives during the three months to the end of September.

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