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Ovitz consoles Shugart

A day after he was ousted as Seagate's CEO, Al Shugart is receiving support from workers, IBM execs, and former Disney president Michael Ovitz.

A day after he was ousted as Seagate Technology's chief executive, Al Shugart said he has received support from rank-and-file workers and IBM executives. But among the well-wishers was a less familiar Silicon Valley name, former Disney president Michael Ovitz.

According to Shugart, Ovitz sent him a fax of a Web page reporting his ouster, with the handwritten message, "Been there, done that." Ovitz lost his job at Disney last year. The note, which suggested that the two get together this summer, also read, "Don't get mad, get even."

Shugart, 67, said his computer has been flooded with email from rank-and-file workers as well. The executive, a founder of Seagate and pioneer of the computer disk drive, said he already has received two requests to join company boards and review business plans. Shugart began his career with Seagate in 1979 after working at IBM.

"I have so many things to do," he said, still personally fielding phone calls from his office in Scotts Valley, California. No assistant was there; he answered the phone "Shugart."

Shugart reiterated his surprise at the ouster. "I thought I was doing a really good job," he said. "You don't mind being fired if you really screwed up."

Shugart said he plans to keep his office at Seagate's low-slung headquarters building until he can find another office in the Santa Cruz area--perhaps in two or three weeks. He also is negotiating a severance package with Seagate, after which he plans to resign from the board.

Launching a start-up is not out of the question, either. "Anything I do has to be fun, and it has to do some good," Shugart said.