IT 100 Special Report 2006 >



Western Digital



The world is getting smaller for Western Digital, and the $3.6 billion-a-year Lake Forest (Calif.) maker of hard drives likes it that way. As consumers rush to buy feature-packed cell phones, MP3 players, and other devices, the longtime maker of 3.5-in. drives for PCs has fast changed gears to produce 2.5-in. drives for notebooks and laptops and 1-in. drives for digital cameras and cell phones. The larger drives still generate the majority of Western Digital sales. But as the market for PCs slows, Western Digital this year shipped 4.5 million drives for digital video recorders, double the unit shipments of a year earlier. But hurdles still remain: It only recently started production of its smaller 1-in drives, which must compete against smaller-capacity flash memory units, whose makers have recently slashed prices. That could make for a difficult launch for Western Digital's line of new 1-in. drives, which only began production in late 2005.

Company Info

2005 Rank


($ Millions)


Sales Growth
(over prev. year)

22 %

($ Millions)


Return on Equity

30.9 %

Total Return on Sales (12-mo.)


Share Price
As of 5/31/06




No. of Employees


Industry Computers & Peripherals
*Trailing 12 months
Stock price data as of 5/31/06
DATA: Standard & Poor's Compustat

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Company Snapshot

Western Digital engages in the design, development, manufacture, and sale of hard-disk drives worldwide. Its hard-disk drive products include 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch form factor drives. The company's hard-disk drives are used in desktop personal computer, notebook computers, enterprise applications, and storage area networks, and consumer electronics products, such as personal digital video recorders and satellite and cable set-top boxes. In addition, the company's hard-disk drives are used in external hard-disk drive products that feature high speed buses. The company sells its products to original equipment manufacturers for inclusion in computer systems or subsystems, and to distributors, resellers, and retailers. Western Digital was founded in 1970 and is headquartered in Lake Forest, Calif.

Data provided by Capital IQ
Arif Shakeel

Arif Shakeel, 50

Chief Executive Officer and Director

Total Compensation


Value of Options


Pepperdine University - MBA, Memphis State University - BS

Arif Shakeel has been president and chief operating officer of Western Digital since January, 2002. Shakeel has been a director of Western Digital since September, 2004. Shakeel joined Western Digital in 1985 as product manager, integrated drive electronics. Shakeel served in various executive capacities, including vice-president, materials Asia, until October, 1997, when he left Western Digital to become managing director of Mah Lin Associates. Shakeel rejoined Western Digital in April, 1999, as senior vice-president, operations, drive product division. He became senior vice-president, worldwide operations, of Western Digital in July, 1999. In February, 2000, he became executive vice-president and general manager of hard-drive solutions. He was promoted to executive vice-president and chief operating officer in April, 2001, and served in that position until January, 2002.

Executive Data provided by Capital IQ