Seagate Technology is replacing CEO William Watkins with Chairman Stephen Luczo, giving day-to-day control of the disk-drive manufacturer back to Luczo more than four years after he relinquished the job to Watkins, the company said on Monday.
Watkins, who has been CEO of Seagate since 2004, will remain at the company to help with the transition and decide what role, if any, he will play at Seagate in the future, according to a news statement.
The move came as a surprise as Watkins made a series of public media appearances for Seagate at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week.
Luczo previously served as CEO from July 1998 until July 2004, during which time he oversaw the privatisation of the company in 2000 and its return to public trading in 2002. Luczo also has been chairman of the Seagate board since June 2002.
In a press statement, Lydia Marshall, lead independent director and chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee for Seagate, said the company welcomes the experience Luczo brings to the job.
"Steve's significant understanding of Seagate's business and technology, and the customer and employee relationships that he built over his 15-year career at Seagate make Steve the ideal person to lead our company at this time," she said in a statement.
Luczo joined Seagate in October 1993 as senior vice president of corporate development and served as president and COO from September 1997 until his appointment as CEO.
Like many technology companies, Seagate is facing tough financial times as demand for its products is down due to reduced IT spending in the U.S. and abroad. Seagate had to lower its financial expectations for its fiscal second quarter, for which it will announce results on Jan. 21.