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Alan Shugart

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Alan Shugart
BornSeptember 27, 1930
Los Angeles, California, US
DiedDecember 12, 2006(2006-12-12) (aged 76)
Alma materUniversity of Redlands (B.S., 1951) [1]
Occupation(s)Engineer and entrepreneur
Known forDisk storage pioneer
Founder of Shugart Associates and Seagate Technology
TitleCEO of Seagate Technology
SuccessorStephen 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]

Personal history[edit]

Born in Los Angeles, he graduated from the University of Redlands, receiving a degree in engineering physics.

Shugart was the father of three children: Joanne Shugart (1951–1954), Christopher D. Shugart (b. 1953) and Teri L.K. Shugart (b. 1955). Shugart was married to Esther Marrs (née Bell), the mother of his three children, from 1951 until 1973. He was married to Rita Shugart (née Kennedy) from 1981 until his death.

Shugart died at age 76 on December 12, 2006, in Monterey, California, of complications from heart surgery he had undergone six weeks earlier.[2][3]


He began his career in 1951 as a field engineer[4] at IBM. In 1955, he transferred to the IBM San Jose laboratory where he worked on the IBM 305 RAMAC.[5] He rose through a series of increasingly important positions to become the Direct Access Storage Product Manager, responsible for disk storage products, IBM's most profitable businesses at that time. Among the groups reporting to Shugart was the team that invented the floppy disk.

Shugart joined Memorex in 1969 as Vice President of its Equipment Division and led the development of its 3660 (compatible with IBM 2314) and 3670 (compatible with IBM 3330) disk storage subsystems. His team also developed the Memorex 650, one of the first commercially available floppy disk drives.

He founded Shugart Associates in February 1973 and resigned as CEO in October 1974.[6][7] 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 CEO, Seagate became the world’s largest independent manufacturer of disk drives and related components. In July 1998, Shugart resigned his positions with Seagate.[8]

Political activity[edit]

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.[9]


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."


  1. ^ "Alan F. Shugart 2005 Fellow". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Markoff, John (December 15, 2006). "Disk drive pioneer Al Shugart dies". New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2007.
  3. ^ "Alan Shugart dies". Monterey Herald. December 13, 2006. Retrieved June 18, 2024.
  4. ^ "Alan F. Shugart". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved April 23, 2016. In 1951, Shugart began his career at IBM as a field engineer
  5. ^ Pugh, Emerson W.; Johnson, Lyle R.; Palmer, John H. (January 1, 1991). IBM's 360 and Early 370 Systems. MIT Press. p. 256. ISBN 9780262161237.
  6. ^ "Shugart Associates advertisement". Computerworld. Newton MA. May 30, 1973. p. 6. Shugart Associates was formed in February 1973 ...
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ "Separation agreement and release, Exh 10.14 to Seagate 10K for fiscal year ending July 3, 1998". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. August 20, 1998. Retrieved December 14, 2006.
  9. ^ "Californians consider "none of the above" option". CNN. March 4, 2000. Archived from the original on February 18, 2009. Retrieved September 28, 2007.

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