Western Digital Aligns Product Strategy With New Flash and HDD Business Units; Hires Industry Veteran Robert Soderbery as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Its Flash Business

News Summary

  • Company aligning $16.7 billion storage portfolio to position for growth, profitability and agility; forming Flash and Hard Disk Drive (HDD) product business units

  • Diversified storage portfolio strategy across Flash and HDD businesses leverages company’s go-to-market synergies to address broad customer storage needs from edge devices to cloud infrastructure

  • Former Symantec/Veritas and Cisco executive with previous responsibility for a $20B+ global technology franchise to lead Western Digital’s Flash Products Business; search for HDD general manager underway

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Sep 22, 2020

Western Digital Corp. (Nasdaq: WDC) today announced a significant step in the ongoing implementation of its diversified storage portfolio strategy by forming separate product business units for its Flash and HDD technology assets. The Flash business and the HDD business will each be led by a general manager and will align the company's diversified portfolio to an acceleration strategy designed for growth, profitability and development agility. By delivering both Flash and HDD market-leading innovation through highly focused product development organizations, Western Digital's strategy positions the company to leverage its strong go-to-market and operational synergies and uniquely address broad customer storage needs from edge devices to cloud infrastructure.

Also today, Western Digital announced the appointment of Robert Soderbery as executive vice president and general manager of its new Flash business unit. A thirty-year technology and business veteran, Soderbery is responsible for all Flash portfolio strategy, product development and business results and will lead engineering and product management teams focused on delivering the company's Flash innovation. The company confirmed an executive search is underway for a general manager who will lead its HDD product business.

"I have very strong conviction in the massive market opportunity that stems from rapid global adoption of the technology architecture built with cloud infrastructure tied to intelligent endpoints and connected by high-performance networks. As people and businesses continue to leverage this architecture and capitalize on the exponential growth in the data it creates to deliver new applications and experiences, the criticality and value of storage technology at every point across this architecture have never been clearer," said David Goeckeler, CEO of Western Digital. "Western Digital's product strategy combines a strong go-to-market engine with a diversified product portfolio across both Flash and HDD. With Flash and HDD product development businesses each focused on driving the storage innovation our customers need to support a broader set of use cases, the company is uniquely positioned in the age of cloud-based digital business."

"With Rob on board, Western Digital is gaining a highly-experienced business leader who has successfully led enviable product franchises at scale and brings deep technology and product management expertise to the company," Goeckeler added. "The thought leadership Rob has demonstrated leading global innovation teams for over a decade makes him the caliber of general manager we need to lead our Flash business. I'm looking forward to working together and welcome him to the company."

An accomplished technology industry veteran, Soderbery joins Western Digital with over thirty years of experience leading engineering and product development organizations at Cisco and Symantec/Veritas. During his tenure at Cisco, Soderbery was senior vice president and general manager of the 20 billion+ Enterprise Networking Business where he led the company's largest product franchise and managed a global development organization. Prior to Cisco, Soderbery was senior vice president at Symantec/Veritas where he led its Availability Management Group focused on mission-critical enterprise systems. Soderbery holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from California Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

"In my experience, product innovation is the outcome of great ideas and dynamic markets. What captured my imagination about Western Digital's Flash business is that it has the potential to power the growth of every interesting end market in technology, including cloud, mobile, gaming, video and intelligent devices," said Soderbery. "This potential opens the door for innovation with our customers as they consider how their own products and technology evolve. The key to success for Western Digital is to couple strong technology execution with a focused strategy for each of these markets."

About Western Digital
Western Digital creates environments for data to thrive. As a leader in data infrastructure, the company is driving the innovation needed to help customers capture, preserve, access and transform an ever-increasing diversity of data. Everywhere data lives, from advanced data centers to mobile sensors to personal devices, our industry-leading solutions deliver the possibilities of data. Our data-centric solutions are comprised of the Western Digital®, G-Technology™, SanDisk®, and WD® brands.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, statements regarding industry trends and the company's positioning and strategy to capitalize on growth opportunities. Forward-looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which such performance or results will be achieved, if at all. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Key risks and uncertainties include: future responses to and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; volatility in global economic conditions; business conditions and growth in the storage ecosystem; impact of restructuring activities and cost saving initiatives; impact of competitive products and pricing; market acceptance and cost of commodity materials and specialized product components; actions by competitors; unexpected advances in competing technologies; our development and introduction of products based on new technologies and expansion into new data storage markets; risks associated with acquisitions, divestitures, mergers and joint ventures; difficulties or delays in manufacturing; the outcome of legal proceedings; and other risks and uncertainties listed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), including the company's Form 10-K filed with the SEC on Aug. 28, 2020, to which your attention is directed. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof, and the company undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

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