2003 Distinguished Alumni
College of Business Administration
Scott Mercer '76, Accounting
"A good leader absorbs the best available information, then uses that information on a daily basis to direct the organization and correct course as required."
Scott Mercer, accounting alumnus and CFO of Western Digital Corporation, remembers his education at Cal Poly Pomona as solid and practical.
"I remain to this day extremely grateful to Cal Poly Pomona for my college experience. It provided exactly the right environment and opportunities for me at that time of my life," he says. "I rarely had a class that was not challenging, motivating and fun.
Mercer stays connected to his alma mater and has served as vice president for the Accounting Alumni Association and has been a member of the Accounting Advisory Council. He has provided significant support to the university in cash gifts and a building pledge.
Mercer's career began when he graduated in 1976 and got a job the same year at Price Waterhouse in the Silicon Valley, rising to the position of senior manager for securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions. After seven years with Price Waterhouse, he joined LSI Logistic Corporation and by 1983 was promoted to Chief Financial Officer. He went on to spend several years at Dell Computers where he served as vice president of several divisions and was ultimately appointed vice president of finance in charge of the computer company's United Kingdom operations.
In 1991, Mercer joined Western Digital Corporation as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer where he leads an experienced finance team at the Irvine-based Fortune 500 company. In 1993, he was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame at Cal Poly Pomona.
"Work should be rewarding, but most of all, fun," he says. "I love to learn new businesses and I find directorships very rewarding and challenging."
Within the next few years, Mercer would like to retire from a full-time job and spend some time pursuing a favorite pastime: racing fast cars. "I intend to step up this activity significantly while my reactions remain somewhat intact," he says.
He lives in Laguna Niguel with his wife and son, and plans to continue his duties as a member of the board of directors for Conexant Systems, Inc., NetRatings, Inc., and MEMEC Ltd.
"There are obviously many, many successful Cal Poly Pomona graduates, whether measured by success in business or one's personal life, and I like to think of myself as accepting this honor on their behalf," he says.