Western Digital boss most disliked tech CEO in survey

David Goeckeler, CEO of Western Digital, has the highest disapproval ratings in a survey of tech bossess by social network company TeamBlind.

The Blind social network is formed of business professionals who register through their work email to comment anonymously on their work experience, without the threat of reprisals.

Blind asked 13,171 members of its network about 103 CEOs in August: “Do you approve or disapprove of the way your CEO is handling their job?” The CEOs were then ranked in terms of their approval and disapproval ratings. There were many storage and storage-related companies in the ratings list and we have picked them out below. Overall Jensen Huang of Nvidia was the most approved CEO while Western Digital’s David Goeckeler had the strongest disapproval rating. The average CEO approval rating was 32 percent.

Storage and related technology CEO approval ratings, with Western Digital at the bottom
We have presented the disapproval ratings as negative approval ratings in order to make the chart below

Huang had a 96 percent approval, 3 percent disapproval and 2 percent no opinion rating amongst survey respondents. Databricks’ Ali Ghodsi had an 83 percent approval rating, 13 percent disapproval, and 4 percent no opinion. Other highly ranked CEOs included Apple’s Tim Cook; 83 percent approve, 13 percent disapprove, while 4 percent had no opinion.

Goeckeler had a zero approval rating, 94 percent disapproval rating, and 6 percent had no opinion. Amazon’s Andy Jassy was also unpopular; 10 percent approval, 86 percent disapproval, and 5 percent no opinion. Dropbox CEO Drew Houston was lowly rated too, with only 17 percent approving, 78 percent disapproving, and 5 percent having no opinion.

Blind approval ratings featuring Western Digital

Blind noted: “Top bosses with the highest CEO approval ratings have generally led their companies to higher valuations in 2023… Nvidia shares now trade more than three times higher (+208 percent year-to-date) than they did at the beginning of the year under Huang’s leadership.

“Perceived job security may be one of the most significant factors in determining a chief executive’s approval among employees… some chief executives with the worst CEO approval ratings had cut jobs in 2023, including some of this year’s highest-profile workforce reductions.”

Blind registration page
Blind registration page
David Goeckeler, Western Digital
David Goeckeler

Western Digital laid off 211 staff in the Bay Area in June this year and cut 60 jobs in Israel in May. Goeckeler’s compensation was $32 million in 2022 while the average Western Digital employee earned $108,524. He became CEO in May 2020. We have asked Western Digital if it has any comment about this survey.


Blind survey respondents could answer “strongly approve,” “somewhat approve,” “somewhat disapprove,” “strongly disapprove” or “no opinion.” The approval rating is the sum of “strongly approve” and “somewhat approve” responses. In other words, a CEO with a 0 percent approval rating indicates no employee answered “strongly approve” or “somewhat approve” in the survey.