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Seagate Plans To Chop Workforce By 10%

1/12/2009 01:17:00 PM Eastern

Scotts Valley, Calif. — Seagate today appointed a new CEO and saw the resignation of its president and COO.

The also intends to terminate 10 percent of its workforce in a restructuring program to be announced later this month, according to filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to a press release, Seagate’s board of directors unanimously voted to replace CEO William D. Watkins with chairman Stephen J. Luczo, effective immediately. The release said Watkins will advise Luczo “to ensure a smooth transition” and said the two “will confer over the next week to determine what role, if any, Mr. Watkins will have at the company going forward.”

An SEC filing said David A. Wickersham resigned from his position of president and COO, effective today. Robert Whitmore, Seagate’s executive VP and chief technology officer, will assume the additional responsibilities performed by Wickersham, effective immediately.

Today’s SEC filing said planned 10 percent workforce reduction will be part of a restructuring program to be announced later this month after Seagate has notified the effected employees. The filing stated that the restructuring “will impact a broad range of departments, including research and development, and is being done in response to the current economic environment.”

Luczo has been with Seagate for 15 years. He has served as the company’s chairman of the board since June 2002. According to the company, he was CEO of Seagate’s predecessor, Seagate Technology, from July 1998 to July 2004. He is credited with leading the company’s privatization in 2000 and its subsequent public offering in 2002. He joined the company in 1993 as corporate development senior VP and served as president and COO from September 1997 until he was appointed CEO.

Luczo said, “Seagate is a strong company and we are making measurable progress toward regaining our longstanding product leadership position across all markets. I look forward to working closely with Seagate’s talented employees around the world to build upon our success and accelerate the improvements we are making in our business.”

Whitmore has been with Seagate since 1992; he has served as executive VP and chief technology officer since 2007.

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