Western Digital CFO Mark Long leaves

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about two years in the position
  • Accolades, praise, thanks and good wishes for Long
  • Search for a successor
  • Long said 78 words

(exechange) — San Jose, California, November 27, 2018 — Mark Long, finance chief of Western Digital, leaves. As announced by Western Digital Corp. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, Mark Patrick Long leaves his post as chief financial officer at the computer hard disk drive manufacturer after about two years in the role.

No company wants a CFO to flame out in the first years.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CFOs who departed over the past 12 months was 6.6 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 24 percent of the CFOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position within three years.

Long will remain chief financial officer until his departure or until a permanent successor is appointed.

Western Digital will undertake a search for a successor.

“To pursue opportunities as a private equity investor”

Mark Long’s departure from the CFO post is explained as follows. Western Digital said: “Mark Long, chief financial officer, chief strategy officer and president, Western Digital Capital, has decided he will step down from his current role to pursue opportunities as a private equity investor.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in Western Digital Corp.’s share price of 55 percent since March 2018.

Chaired by Matthew Massengill

Western Digital Corp. is chaired by Matthew Massengill.

Matthew Massengill is chairman of the board of directors of Western Digital Corporation. He has been a director of Western Digital since January 2000.

CEO: Steve Milligan

Steve Milligan serves as CEO of Western Digital Corp. Steve Milligan re-joined WDC as president in March 2012 and was appointed chief executive officer effective January 2, 2013.

In the position of CFO since 2016

Mark Long was appointed as executive vice president, chief financial officer and chief strategy officer effective September 1, 2016, having previously served as executive vice president, finance, and chief strategy officer since July 2016.

Prior to that, he served the company as executive vice president and chief strategy officer since February 2013.

Long also serves as president, Western Digital Capital, a strategic investment fund targeting innovative companies within the broader storage industry and related markets aligned to Western Digital’s strategic plan.

From March 2012 to February 2013, Long served in various consulting capacities for Western Digital.

Prior to Western Digital, Long served as senior vice president, strategy and corporate development at Hitachi GST, which was acquired by Western Digital in March 2012.

Previously, he provided merger and acquisition and corporate finance services to a range of technology companies, including Fabrik, Inc., which was acquired by Hitachi GST in April 2009, as managing director of VisionPoint Capital.

Long also was president and chief strategy officer of SageMetrics, a venture-backed business intelligence software company, and executive vice president of Strategic Development for Intraware, a then-publicly held provider of electronic software delivery and management services.

Prior to Intraware, he was an investment banker with Credit Suisse First Boston and Deutsche Bank Securities.

Long began his career as a corporate lawyer with Gunderson Dettmer, a leading law firm in California’s Silicon Valley.

Long holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Arizona and a law degree and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan.

To ensure a smooth leadership transition, Long will remain an active member of the company’s leadership team through June 1, 2019.


As a general rule, when a top leader announces to step aside with no successor in place, it’s a sign that the move was unexpected and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Mark Long’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 49.2018 ($).