CTO Dr. Hossein M. Moghadam Leaves WD

With lump sum payment of $896,875
By Jean Jacques Maleval on 2010.04.02

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Here is a SEC filing just published by Western Digital Corporation:

On March 31, 2010, Western Digital Corporation and Dr. Hossein M. Moghadam entered into a Separation and General Release Agreement pursuant to which Dr. Moghadam will leave his position as Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer of Western Digital, and his employment by Western Digital will terminate, effective March 31, 2010.

Dr. Moghadam, 66, is retiring after leading Western Digital’s advanced technology team for almost 10 years. Going forward, Western Digital’s advanced technology efforts will be led by Dr. William Cain, a senior technologist and a member of Dr. Moghadam’s team for the past several years.

Pursuant to the Separation Agreement, Dr. Moghadam has agreed to protect Western Digital’s confidential information and to comply with certain non-solicitation and cooperation provisions. The Separation Agreement also provides for a customary general release of claims by Dr. Moghadam, as well as certain other standard terms. Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and applicable law, Dr. Moghadam has up to seven days to revoke the Separation Agreement. If Dr. Moghadam does not revoke the Separation Agreement and complies with his obligations thereunder, he will be entitled to the following separation benefits:

  • a lump sum payment of $820,000, less standard withholding and authorized deductions, payable within thirty days of the Separation Date;
  • a lump sum payment of $76,875, less standard withholding and authorized deductions, which represents a pro-rata portion of Dr. Moghadam’s target bonus opportunity under Western Digital’s Incentive Compensation Plan for the six-month bonus cycle ending July 2, 2010, payable within thirty days of the Separation Date; and
  • Western Digital will make applicable COBRA premium payments to cover Dr. Moghadam’s company-provided medical, dental and/or vision coverage until the earlier of eighteen months following the Separation Date or Dr. Moghadam’s becoming eligible for equivalent coverage under another employer’s plan(s).

Under the terms and conditions of the Company’s stock incentive plan and stock option agreement, and based on Dr. Moghadam’s age and years of service, Dr. Moghadam’s outstanding stock options at the date of his separation will automatically vest and become fully exercisable and, in accordance with the stock incentive plan and his option agreements, will remain exercisable during the three year period following his separation.

Our Comments

Dr. Hossein Moghadam is a long-time industry veteran whose storage background spans more than three decades. He was responsible for WD's worldwide engineering and research and development program. He joined the company in 2000 as VP of engineering and San Jose site manager.

Before WD, Moghadam was with Terastor, serving as senior VP of engineering. Previously, he spent nine years with Seagate where his most recent position was CTO and senior VP of R&D. He began working for Seagate in 1989 as a result of a series of acquisitions, including Rigidyne Corp., a storage hardware technology company, which he founded in 1986. His 17 years previous to Rigidyn were spent in various management roles with Pertec Peripherals, Control Data, Honeywell and General Electric.

Moghadam earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Oklahoma.