Seagate's board votes in a new CEO

— 6:00 AM on January 13, 2009

Bill Watkins is stepping down as Seagate's CEO and might leave the company altogether, Seagate has announced. The hard drive maker's board has appointed Stephen J. Luczo as the new CEO, and the official announcement says Luczo and Watkins "will confer over the next week to determine what role, if any, Mr. Watkins will have at the Company going forward."

Luczo isn't exactly green behind the ears: he already served as CEO from 1998 until 2004. The press release doesn't elaborate on the reason for his latest promotion, but the San Jose Mercury News has gathered a few more details. The paper says COO David Wickersham also stepped down, and it quotes an analyst who believes the changes "may stem from a difference of philosophy between Watkins and some other executives about how to revamp the struggling business." That same analyst doesn't expect a major sea change, though.

According to the Associated Press, Seagate also intends to cut 10% of its U.S. workforce, and it recently trimmed its latest quarterly revenue forecast from $2.85-3.05 billion to $2.3-2.6 billion.

Outside the storage industry, Watkins may be best remembered from his comment to Fortune a couple of years back: "Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn."

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