The acquisition of Hitachi was a drawn-out process, but Western Digital eventually got past all the procedures. Nevertheless, the transaction continues to surprise us even now.
It was obvious that Hitachi's leading staff would go through some changes, and we didn't exactly expect WD's own leadership to stay completely unchanged.
This does not mean that we foresaw Hitachi's chief becoming the leader of Western Digital as a whole though. Granted, this has not yet happened, but it will occur on January 3, 2013.
Steve Milligan, currently acting as president, will become chief executive officer of the company. John Coyne, the current head of WD, will retire on that day.
“We are grateful to John Coyne for his many years of dedication and strong leadership. He and his team have strategically positioned the company at the center of the storage industry, as a consistently profitable market and technology leader well positioned to address the tremendous opportunities in the changing digital world,” said Tom Pardun, chairman of the WD's board of directors.
“We are fortunate to have another accomplished and experienced leader in Steve Milligan, ready to lead the company at this exciting time. We believe Steve’s vision and demonstrated leadership skills will serve our customers, employees and shareholders well in the years ahead. The strong working relationship between John and Steve will provide for an orderly transition in the months ahead.”
Milligan's journey is an interesting one. Though he was CEO of Hitachi GTS at the time of the acquisition, he worked with Western Digital before, from 2004 to 2007, as chief financial officer (CFO).
Now we just have to wait and see if the man can keep Western Digital ahead of Seagate, assuming the latter doesn't snatch the leading worldwide HDD market position between now and the start of 2013.