Irishman confirmed as CEO of multi-billion IT player

7 Nov 2006

An Irish native with a 35-year career in the technology business has been appointed chief executive of Western Digital, a company that manufactures a large proportion of the world’s hard disks.

Until earlier this year, John Coyne headed up Western Digital’s business operations before being appointed president and chief operations officer.

In recent days it has been confirmed that Coyne will take the reigns as CEO of Western Digital in January next.

Western Digital was established in the Seventies and manufactures a large proportion of the world’s hard disk drives.

Under its current management team, of which Coyne has been a member, the company more than doubled its revenues from US$2bn in 2000 to US$4.3bn in fiscal year 2006.

The company has also grown profitability from a loss of US$188m to income of US$396m, expanded cash and investments to US$699m and has posted one of the IT industry’s leading returns on invested capital.

Coyne, who is a mechanical engineering graduate of University College Dublin, joined Western Digital in 1983 after establishing his own controller board manufacturing facility in Ireland.

Since then he has advanced rapidly through the ranks of Western Digital, heading up worldwide manufacturing operations as well as leading the integration of the acquired assets of Read-Rite Corporation into being a highly efficient head operation at Western Digital.

Western Digital’s current chief executive Arif Shakeel will remain with the company in an advisory capacity until June next year. Coyne will retain the title of president of Western Digital when he becomes chief executive next year.

By John Kennedy