Irishman to head up US billion-dollar storage giant


16 May 2006

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An Irishman has been appointed president and chief operating officer of US multi-billion-dollar storage technology giant Western Digital.

John Coyne, a 35-year technology industry veteran who has spent the past 20 years as an executive with Western Digital, will be responsible for the company’s business units, including business operations, hard drive and head manufacturing, materials engineering and IT.

Western Digital, which was established in 1970, manufactures a large proportion of the world’s hard disks and has a long history in the electronics industry as a chip maker and a storage products company.

The company, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, in April filed revenues of US$1.1bn and profits of US$102.9m.

Coyne was named executive vice-president of worldwide operations in June 2005, with worldwide responsibility for business operations, hard drive and head manufacturing, materials and IT. He served as senior vice-president, worldwide operations from 2000 to 2005 with responsibility for hard drive manufacturing operations.

Western Digital chief executive Arif Shakeel said Coyne has been instrumental in establishing Western Digital as one of the industry’s highest quality and most efficient hard drive makers with its worldwide manufacturing operations in Malaysia, Thailand and northern California.

He first joined Western Digital in 1983, when he established a controller board manufacturing facility in Ireland. Coyne holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from University College Dublin.

Shakeel said Coyne “has demonstrated tremendous skill in guiding Western Digital to a leadership position in the dynamic hard drive industry and to a position of strength as we address multiple growth opportunities. John’s passionate focus on efficiency, speed and accuracy in all aspects of our business — coupled with his ability to create and lead world-class teams to address customer needs — have been critical to our success and in building a strong foundation for our future.”

By John Kennedy