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Western Digital CEO Milligan to retire, fiscal Q1 better than expected

The storage giant is starting a search for a new CEO. In the meantime, Western Digital indicated that the worst is over for storage pricing and demand.
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Written by Larry Dignan on

Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan plans to retire and step down when the company finds a new leader. A search is underway.

Milligan, who has been CEO of the company since 2013, will stay until a successor has been identified and appointed and then remain as an advisor until Sept. 2020. Milligan led Western Digital through a series of peaks and valleys in storage demand and transformed the company through the acquisitions of Sandisk, Virident and Tegile.

The search for a new CEO comes as Western Digital reported a better than expected first quarter and a weak earnings outlook for the second. Western Digital reported a fiscal first quarter net loss of $276 million, or 93 cents a share, on revenue of $4 billon. Non-GAAP earnings were 34 cents a share.

Wall Street was expecting Western Digital to report fiscal first quarter non-GAAP earnings of 30 cents a share on revenue of $3.93 billion.

In the same quarter a year ago, Western Digital reported net income of $511 million, or $1.71 a share, on revenue of $5 billion.

For the second quarter, Western Digital projected revenue to be between $4.1 billion and $4.3 billion with non-GAAP earnings per share of 45 cents a share to 65 cents a share.  Wall Street was expecting revenue of $4.22 billion and non-GAAP earnings of 75 cents a share.

Overall, Milligan said fiscal 2020 was "off to a good start" with strength in enterprise drives for data centers. "The overall demand environment remains solid. We continue to believe the flash industry has passed a cyclical trough, with improving trends across our flash product portfolio," said Milligan.

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