Seagate's Luczo To Step Down As CEO, Become Executive Chairman In October

Seagate's chief executive Steve Luczo is stepping away from his leadership role to make way for a new CEO.

The company's board of directors said it would appoint company President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Mosely as CEO starting October 1.

Luczo will become executive chairman on October 1, a role where he is expected to focus on longer-term shareholder value creation, the company said.

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The change in leadership comes as the storage media industry continues its quick transition from spinning hard drives to all-flash storage.

New York-based analyst firm Statista predicts that hard drive shipments will fall to 330 million units by 2021, down from 470 million units in 2015. Statista contrasted this with SSD shipments, which it estimates will reach 360 million units by 2021, up from 105 million units in 2015.

For all of 2016, Seagate shipped 155.0 million hard drives, down 17.8 percent compared to all of 2015, according to analyst firm TrendFocus as reported by Market Realist. That compares to a relatively more modest drop of 14.2 percent during the same period for the top manufacturer of hard drives, Western Digital.

Seagate is certainly in a challenging environment, said Dominic Daninger, vice president of engineering at Nor-Tech, or Northern Computer Technologies, a Burnsville, Minn.-based custom system builder and Seagate partner.

Even as Seagate looks to new technologies like HAMR (heat-assisted magnetic recording) to deliver new larger-capacity hard drives for big data and other parts of the IT business, the volume part of the business is definitely moving towards solid-state storage and SSDs, Daninger told CRN.

"We're also seeing a big lack of competition in the hard drive market," he said. "Toshiba is backing out, and so Seagate is now only one of two main players. We still use a lot of large-capacity Seagate drives, which are still cheaper on a per-gigabyte basis than SSDs. Seagate is still a great partner of ours."

Seagate on Tuesday also reported financial results for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2017. For all of fiscal 2017, Seagate's revenues were $9.7 billion, down about 9 percent from 2016's full year revenue of $10.7 billion. Net income for fiscal 2017, however, reached $772 million, up 212 percent over fiscal 2016.

Seagate did not respond to a request for more information on the futures of Luczo and Mosley.

However, in a prepared statement, Luczo said it was his honor to have served as Seagate's CEO in 16 of the last 20 years. "I am grateful to our amazing employees, customers, suppliers, and shareholders. I am excited about our future and I look forward to working with Dave in my new role as executive chairman at Seagate," Luczo said in the statement.

Mosley, who joined Seagate in 1995, said in a prepared statement that he is looking forward towards new opportunities for Seagate.

"Seagate has a critical role in storing and securing the world's data and I am proud of our tremendous global employee organization that works every day to support that effort. I look forward to Steve's ongoing counsel in the role of Executive Chairman," Mosley said in the statement.

Seagate shares fell $0.86 (-2.59%) to $32.34 in Wednesday trading.