WDC Stealthily Announces More Details for HDD/Flash Split

Historical microphotograph of a cell splitting into two.On March 5 Western Digital issued an announcement updating the company’s plan to divide its HDD and flash businesses into two independent companies in the second half of this year.

The flash part of the business will be spun out with current WDC CEO David Goeckeler as “CEO Designate.”  No further details were given.

Irving Tan has been named for the CEO role of the HDD company, which will continue to use the Western Digital name.  Tan is currently Western Digital’s Executive Vice President, Global Operations.

More detail can be found in the press release HERE.

Something extraordinarily odd is that the press release was only promoted on Business Wire, and was not prominently posted on Western Digital’s own website, although some digging found it HERE.  In fact, it wasn’t e-mailed to the press or industry analysts either.  The SSD Guy didn’t find out about it until a full day after it was posted, since the company did no outreach to me, no reporters called, and investors didn’t come to me to ask about it.  The silence has been stunning.

I had been expecting for Goeckeler to follow the HDD side of the business, which remains quite healthy despite almost two decades of flash manufacturer predictions for HDDs to vanish as they were replaced by SSDs, a position that I never embraced.  I was expecting for there to be some controversy since Goeckeler was named Vice Chair of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) on 16 November 2023, and that automatically will make him the Chair of that organization in 2025.  He probably would have had to back away from that honor had he stopped serving as the CEO of a chip company.  Instead, everything should proceed in an orderly manner, since Mr. Goeckeler will be running a flash company.

There is little more in the press release than assurances that the team is moving step-by-step to assure an orderly transition, putting all of the necessary pieces in place beforehand.  There are also biographies for both Goeckeler and Tan.

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