Alan Shugart

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Alan Shugart
Born September 27, 1930
Los Angeles
Died December 12, 2006(2006-12-12) (aged 76)
Monterey, Calif.
Cause of death
Complications after a heart operation
Nationality United States
Alma mater University of Redlands (B.S., 1951) [1]
Occupation engineer and entrepreneur
Known for pioneer of the disk drive
founder of Shugart Associates and Seagate Technology
Title CEO of Seagate Technology
Successor Stephen J. Luczo

Alan Field Shugart (September 27, 1930 – December 12, 2006) was an American engineer, entrepreneur and business executive whose career defined the modern computer disk drive industry.[2]


Born in Los Angeles, he graduated from the University of Redlands, receiving a degree in engineering physics. He began his career at IBM in San Jose, California. He worked on the IBM 305 RAMAC, and rose through a series of increasingly important positions to become the Direct Access Storage Product Manager, responsible for its disk storage products. Those were IBM's most profitable businesses at that time. Among the groups reporting to Shugart was the team that invented the floppy disk.

He founded Shugart Associates in February 1973 and resigned as CEO in October 1974.[3][4] The company was later acquired by Xerox. Then he and Finis Conner started Shugart Technology in 1979, which soon changed its name to Seagate Technology.

With Shugart as Chief Executive Officer, Seagate became the world’s largest independent manufacturer of disk drives and related components. In July 1998, Shugart resigned his positions with Seagate.[5]

In 1996 he launched an unsuccessful campaign to elect Ernest, his Bernese Mountain Dog, to Congress. Shugart later wrote about that experience in a book, Ernest Goes to Washington (Well, Not Exactly). He backed a failed ballot initiative in 2000 to give California voters the option of choosing "none of the above" in elections.[6]

He received the 1997 IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Storage Systems Award. In 2005, he was made a Fellow of the Computer History Museum "for his lifelong contributions to the creation of the modern disk drive industry."

Shugart was the father of three children: Joanne Shugart (b. 1951, d. 1954), Christopher D. Shugart (b. 12-13-53) and Teri L.K. Shugart (b. 8-13-55), and 4 grandchildren: Carly Erickson (b. 5-26-89), Mitchell Erickson (b. 8-23-91), Andrew Shugart (b. 4-16-80) and Janette Shugart (b. 11-1-85). Shugart was married to Esther Marrs (née Bell), the mother of Shugart's three children, from August 1951 until August 1973. He was married to Rita Shugart (née Kennedy) from 1981 until his death.

Shugart died on December 12, 2006 in Monterey, California of complications from heart surgery he had undergone six weeks earlier.[2]


  1. ^ Alan F. Shugart 2005 Fellow
  2. ^ a b Markoff, John (December 15, 2006). "Disk drive pioneer Al Shugart dies". New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Shugart Associates advertisement". Computerworld (Newton MA). May 30, 1973. p. 6. Shugart Associates was formed in February 1973 ... 
  4. ^ "Shugart President Resigns". Computerworld (Newton MA). October 30, 1974. p. 42. Shugart Associates' founder, Alan F. Shugart, has resigned as president. He was replaced by Donald J. Massaro, former vice-president of operations. 
  5. ^ "Separation agreement and release, Exh 10.14 to Seagate 10K for fiscal year ending July 3, 1998". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. August 20, 1998. Retrieved December 14, 2006. 
  6. ^ "Californians consider "none of the above" option". CNN. March 4, 2000. Retrieved September 28, 2007. 

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