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Senior Director of Research and Development

Delivering significant technology innovations, vital R&D programs, and profitable product developments have been key outcomes of a successful career in engineering leadership. Known for creating effective solutions to technical challenges and generating a lasting impact on business growth and success. Passionate about pushing boundaries with data storage solutions to drive performance and effectiveness.

Steadily revolutionizing product design while driving change, advancing maturity, and promoting operational seamlessness. Exceptional record leading cross-functional teams to advance technology. Coined a Subject Matter Expert in ultra-high-density magnetic recording. Delivered keynote presentations at top industry events, authored multiple peer-reviewed papers, and holds multiple U.S. patents. Deep interest in the future of data storage and advanced technologies, making the Senior Director of R&D the desired next role of this progressive career. 

Currently located in Redwood City, CA. Open to travel, remote, hybrid & on-site.



September 2019 | March 2023 

Senior Director, WD Research 


Managed the Computational Materials Science Group and Research Operations Group, leading the 5-year Technology Outlook process for secondary storage technologies and coordinating internal research and external partnerships for DNA Data Storage. Oversaw the WDC university research sponsorship program.

September 2015 | September 2019 

Senior Director, Technology Alignment, CTO Office 

Strategically guided technology vision, strategy, architecture, governance, enterprise software development and implementation for high-volume data warehousing, forecasting, and analytics applications of clinical, supply chain and operational data, while administering a $50M budget. Directed highly organized product development, including build vs. buy decisions, investment justifications, and delivery schedules. Cultivated strategic partnerships with AAS, Oracle, and CustomSolutions. Built a 250-member enterprise architecture team and transformed culture to a more agile-based delivery approach.

September 2010 | September 2015 

Senior Director, CTO Office  

Steered the development of the Advanced Magnetic Recording Media and Head Groups and Characterization of Solid-State Memory Devices Group while also directing the University Research Program. Co-founder of the ASTC Industry Consortium representing Western Digital and served as the Steering Committee Chair for the ASTC (later re-named ASRC).

September 2007 | September 2010 

Vice President 


Oversaw development of advanced magnetic recording media, supporting all customer program qualifications and Pilot Line activities, with a budget of $25M.



Office Desk

Formed and motivated world-class teams to lead in research and technology development activities by identifying gaps in capability and addressing them with best-in-class human and equipment resources.

Business Meeting

Overhauled talent retention activities, igniting a “culture of innovation,” improving the company’s reputation within the technical-scientific community, and reducing turnover rates.

Business Graphs

Quantified the value of externally funded university research, demonstrating that the leverage on cost for exploratory research was 3-10x lower by funding externally and with lower I.P. exposure.



  • Executive Leadership

  • Technology Trends

  • Device Physics

  • Material Science

  • Magnetism & Magnetic Materials

  • Program Qualifications

  • Thin-Film Processes

  • Computer Engineering

  • Program Management 

  • Continuous Improvement

  • Customer Support

  • Data Center Technology

  • Innovation

  • Crisis Management




(Ph.D.) Materials Science & Engineering


(MS) Materials Science & Engineering


(BS) Metallurgical Engineering





"I have known Gerardo for over 15 years, since the time he was VP of WD Media. Although I was not his direct report (he was my second-in-line manager at WD Media), I got to interact with him quite regularly, and looked up to him as a mentor. Even after he moved to a different organization within WD, I still used to go & chat with him to brainstorm ideas or just to seek professional advice. With his matter-of-fact approach to technical problems & keen insight into business matters, he helped to bring clarity to my thoughts and direction to my work. Gerardo is the kind of mentor or manager everyone wishes for - a people's manager, someone who recognizes your talents and has your back, is happy to see you grow professionally, and is always there to provide feedback & guidance - whether on the minutest details of some minor project or on the big picture of technological innovation!"

-Kumar Srinivasan, Ph.D., Director, Sonera Magnetics, Inc.

"I first met Gerardo at an early conference on perpendicular magnetic recording. Our roads crossed again in 2010 when I joined his media development group at Western Digital. I was impressed by his excellent background in material science, magnetic properties of nanoparticle systems, grain size-dependent critical behavior and spin-transfer phenomena. His theoretical background is backed by a vast experience with thin film deposition and characterization techniques, apprehended during years of industrial experience. His activity is reflected in a large number of patents and publications in prestigious journals that he has authored and co-authored. Gerardo has outstanding interpersonal, organizational and leadership skills. It is always a pleasure to interact with him. Wherever Gerardo works, he will bring excellent results and will be an inspiration for his co-workers."

-Cristian Papusoi, Ph.D., Engineering Manager, Western Digital 

"I’m new to Western Digital and had the chance to work closely with Gerardo to support a critical innovation event that he co-produced on an amazing new technology. What came across to me was the combination of Gerardo’s technical knowledge, communications skills, and passion for innovation. While I more often see just one of these, together they speak to Gerardo’s commitment to technical excellence and making critical technologies accessible to everyone. He is a skilled speaker, facilitator, and bridge builder, and it was a delight to get to work with him for a short time here. Wishing him the best in his future endeavors, I know he’ll be a wonderful asset to any team."

-Lisa Towles, Director of Strategic Communications, Western Digital


Q & A

Why did you choose your profession?

I have always been fascinated with how things work, and the basic principles that drive physical behavior of matter and devices. I saw Materials Science and Solid-state Physics as subjects that provided many answers to my curiosity. When I obtained my Ph.D. degree in Materials Science and having studied materials and structures at atomic resolution, I was presented with the opportunity to work at Komag and apply my knowledge in a field that continuously pushed the limits to the small.

Who is the one person who has done the most to shape you into who you are today? How was the person significant to you? 

In life, it has to be my father. He was hard-working, never tiring, with an entrepreneurial mind, and yet loving, caring, with great sensitivity to the needs of others. 

Professionally there were many, up there has been Dr. Tu Chen, founder of Komag, who showed that regardless of his huge stature in the company and industry, he was passionate about technology development and willing to roll up his sleeve and work with a fresh engineer, just hired into the company. His open-door policy made it so that everyone in the company could just show up and talk to him on any topic. That to me continues to be inspirational and a great example of how to conduct myself.

What has been the greatest accomplishment of your life so far? Is there anything you wish to do even better?

I pride myself for having assembled great teams of the best talent possible and for having pushed the limits of technology to places never believed possible. I’ve also been a key contributor in pioneering the development and use of the magnetic thin-film media and material system that is used in all the hard-disk drives currently in the market. Of course, that is a past accomplishment, and I don’t particularly want to live on past laurels. I would like to continue driving technology advances elsewhere to improve the quality of life of people or make positive contributions possible. 

How would your peers and team members describe your responsiveness as a leader?

I always feel a sense of accomplishment/pride when colleagues and past employees reach out for advice on career advancement or request advice about current technical challenges.  I have been told by many that when I go elsewhere, they would want to go with me.  I am sure that many people question my management style, but I always believed that respect is earned by accomplishments and being sincere and transparent as opposed to authoritative and controlling of information.



Spinning Bike Wheel




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