Circuit City CEO Resigns

Circuit City’s CEO, possibly the last guy left who might have known how to install HDTV , stepped down yesterday. Philip J. Schoonover’s efforts to turn around the troubled electronics retailer, which included firing a bunch of long-time employees and replacing them with lower-paid workers without benefits, didn’t work out. What with the worsening economy and all, it just didn’t seem like a good time to be a CEO.

[AP] (Thanks to CJ!0


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  1. Zanorfes says:

    Empowering employees in the “front line” is what makes a company successful. Firing them, as we saw just got them to lose money and hire incompetence.

  2. blackmage439 says:

    Nah nah nah nah.
    Nah nah nah nah.

    I still refuse to shop at Circuit City. I went in for an interview once for a PC repair position. I was told I had to start out in sales, and in a couple of months I MIGHT be allowed to work on “small stuff”. When I confronted the interviewer about the fallacy of the position’s ad, he just shrugged his shoulders and basically said “tough shit”. I haven’t set foot in a Crap City since.

    • Zeniq says:

      @blackmage439: They probably needed someone on the sales team but wanted someone technically oriented, and thought that was the best way to do it. When I went in for my tech spot interview, that’s exactly the position I was given.

    • christoj879 says:

      @blackmage439: Of course they want you in sales. They want you in sales so once you go over to repair you won’t have a soul left and won’t feel bad about selling an elderly couple $400 worth of bullshit software and services and telling them if they don’t their kids will put them in a retirement home.

      I hope you were able to find work with an honest local shop – they still exist :)

  3. midwestkel says:

    I rather shop at Circuit City than Best Buy. I know what I want to buy and I never get bothered while shopping there.

  4. midwestkel says:

    But that is crazy I was just talking to my friends because I thought if he decided to rebrand the company they might be able to get Circuit City back to a big company.

  5. catcherintheeye says:

    This guy was an assclown. Good riddance. Perhaps his fire employees and try and hire them back at lower wages strategy will work elsewhere.

    • Adisharr says:


      That sums it up nicely. Maybe he can get a job at Stanley where all the other tools are.

    • Tmoney02 says:

      @catcherintheeye: The fire employees and replace with cheaper ones was tried at homedepot before this guy did the same thing.

      It worked just as bad or worse for Homedepot. They have since reversed their position. I swear the boards that allow their ceo’s and advisers to do stupid finding every corner to cut refuse to actually study the results of such strategies. Time and time again the customers get upset and take business elsewhere even if it costs more, and yet this sack of goods still gets sold to businesses.

  6. TexasScout says:

    I hope the company will DIAF!

    After they let go ALL their “best”(sic) help and replaced them with acne covered “duh boys”, I never went in there again and never will.

    If you treat your people well, they will treat your business well and you will prosper.

    Good riddance!

  7. British Benzene says:

    CC and BB are last resorts for me. Like when my wife’s trackball ceases to function at 8pm and she really needs to finish some work (she must have a trackball, not a mouse).

    I used to enjoy shopping there, but honestly, they’re just TOO LOUD and busy. If there is anyone cranking up the volume in car audio or home theater, I just leave even if it means dumping a basketful of purchases.

    I’m much more likely to shop CostCo or Target if I must go to a physical store for electronics or media. If I can wait a day or 2, I shop online.

  8. puyro {who was banned for "junk comments" what? says:

    What’s hilarious is the store I work at had NO IDEA this happened til I just told them.

  9. savvy999 says:

    Considering that Schooonover’s pocketed about $7.4 MILLION this year already, I think we can all rest easy knowing he’ll be okay. For a little while. We hope.

    Source: []

  10. Eryk says:

    Wait a minute, who did he fire?

    The previous CEO, Alan McCollough – Mr. “We are committed to keeping commissioned sales staff” made the decision to layoff commissioned employees, and replace them with lower wage workers. This CEO did not do that, unless there’s some recent layoffs I’m not familiar with. However, he is responsible for running an already horrible company into the ground even further.

    Stick a fork it in, this company’s done.

    • Eryk says:


      Reply to my post – just read up on the recent layoffs. Great stuff – I had no idea.

      CEO #1 – Layoff the commissioned associates! Offer the ones that didn’t rake in the cash a healthy hourly rate, but get rid of the ones that made too much.

      CEO #2 – Layoff those hourly people that were originally commissioned but now make too much in comparison with the other hourlys!

      • Parting says:

        @Eryk: A healthy commission and hourly base salary structure, makes everyone happy :

        – employees (eager to upsell, but not too much to screw the customer, since the hourly base is a guarantee for some food on the table),
        – customers (since employees are knowledgeable, but not too pushy), and
        – stockholders (money flowing on a regular basis, since everyone else happy.)

        But hey, this is NOT why CEOs are paid millions. No one wants common sense solutions for this salary, hein ?!

    • dveight says:

      @Eryk: Yes, Alan McCollough Mr. “”We are committed to keeping commissioned sales staff” was the one that did away with the commissioned sales people, but not all of them. Only the ones that were making on average over a certain amount (I happened to be one of those!) and switching the company to hourly.

      Philip J. Schoonover’s was the one that came in afterwards and said that they were paying the ones that they kept too much, and fired them and hired lowered paying people.

      Unbelieveable that they would shoot themselves in the foot twice, both times getting rid of their best sales people.

  11. Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

    Business needs competition. If Circuit City goes out of business, Best Buy will be left to its own devices and consumers will suffer even more. As bad as Circuit City is, Best Buy will be worse if left to be the only major electronic chain standing!

    • British Benzene says:

      @danno50: Best Buy as Wal-Mart? Could Wal-mart leverage a buyout of Best Buy? That would be awesome.

      (Voting for T. Roosevelt this year, dammit.)

      • gaya2081 says:

        @EnglishC6H6 is British Benzene:Naw Best Buy is trying to avoid directly competing with Walmart…who blames them, Walmart would eat them alive.

        • British Benzene says:

          @gaya2081: But, as Wal-Mart has been unsuccessful at “Up-Marketing” themselves (attempts to make Wal-Mart clothes and housewares anything other than base level), they may see Best Buy as a way to get into higher margin sales while increasing market share.

          All of this is based on my belief that WM’s current expansion of the Electronics section (getting rid of or shrinking other sections such as fabrics/crafts to do so) will fail to get them the expansion they want in customer base and in higher margin electronics.

    • Tmoney02 says:

      @danno50: Perhaps the vacuum of a failed circuit city will result in Fry’s going national.

  12. Chairman-Meow says:

    Gee, I guess that Mr.Schoonover Tactics to appease the shareholders over v.s. the customers didn’t quite work as expected. He tactics might have had short-term gains for the shareholders, but poorly treated customers have long memories and have voted with their feet.

    Good-luck on those “future opportunities” !!

    Maybe after a few more like Schoonover fall from grace that retail might want to rethink their shortsightedness.

  13. darkstarX says:

    This might not be a popular opinion here, but I think that there are better deals to be had a CC than many competitors if you know what you are looking for. For example I got a really nice Wireless N standard Linksys router for $40 a few months ago, and I bought a Creative Zen Stone plus speaker mp3 player for $40 last weekend (which is less than any of the offers I could find online if you count shipping.)

  14. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    I also like CC compared to Best Buy, they have less of an issue pricematching than Best Buy does. Best Buy you have to jump through hoops, CC just wants your money so boom, done.

  15. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    This just in: the CEO will be replaced with a new entry-level CEO position without benefits like the key to the executive bathroom and an invite to the company BBQ featuring delicious ribs roasted atop the burning embers of extended service contracts.

  16. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    How exactly is firing long-time, loyal employees, and replacing them with employees who get lower wages and no benefits a good business model? Seriously. There’s good practice, and stupid decisions. It might have helped their bottom line just a bit, but they lost a ton of possibly decent workers. I haven’t stepped foot inside a Circuit City in years, probably because the ones around me all folded.

  17. BYE, this is the type of guy who values a quick raise in profits over the value of long term employes. I’ve never spent a dollar in CC since I read that story a year or so ago. Now that satan is gone I probably still won’t shop there. Main reason being is that I don’t like CC or Best Buy. Sales people are over the top pushie with warrentys and service plans. I actually was going to buy a camera at CC that I really didn’t want to because of the whole employee fiasco. This camera wasn’t found anywhere at the time so I had no choice. After having the sales men heckle me to purchase a warrenty I just left.

    The story was actually kind of funny because he told me I should really go with the warrenty because there was a good chance that this camera will fail with in a year. I told him that was a great sales pitch for a warrenty I don’t need, but a lousy sales pitch for a camera, and I didn’t want a camera with a one year life expentancy. I ended up buying a more expensive camera at walmart, I didn’t want to spend the cash but I hate CC and just to see the guys face when I walked it was worth it.

  18. HyMinded says:

    To be quite honest, I think while CC’s corporate could use an overhaul, the people at the stores are generally very helpful (at least the ones I visit) and don’t bother you when you’re trying to shop and decide. I prefer CC over Best Buy b/c BB makes you leap through flaming hoops of fire just to price match. CC offers good prices at the get-go and I haven’t been pressured into buying an extended warranty for…I can’t even remember. Then again YMMV.

  19. temporaryerror says:

    It takes a good salesmen to sell a warranty without making it sound like the product is crap that will fail in a year (or whenever the manu. warranty runs out).

    That would be one benefit of not firing all of your knowledgeable higher paid employees. But, again, this is the long view.

  20. strife1012 says:

    Finally Former Best Buy CEO Leaves, now my company can die peacefully.

  21. Parting says:

    Happy employees = productive ones.

    That what happens when you fire the best ones, you get shitty service AND due to that, unhappy customers.

    Then lower profits.

  22. Onion_Volcano says:

    Circuit city is nice, but best buy has more products to choose from. It’s a toss up about what I like better, but 9 times out of 10 I end up buying off the net rather than bother with pushy staff and annoying shoppers.

  23. Angryrider says:

    I try to go to neither ASAP, and J&R is usually the place when stuff isn’t on sale.

    Why hasn’t Blockbuster bought the store out?

  24. johnnya2 says:

    Lets remember that CC was not doing well when this guy came in with these so-called productive happy employees. The retail market has taken a nose dove for everybody and those that were struggling before have not been able to reinvent themselves. The fact is, the average CC consumer needs a reason to go there. What compelling reason is there to go to the store versus BB. They are equal distance from my house so my decision is based on the store and what it offers. Neither has anything greatly different, but Best Buy has cleaner, newer more imaginative interiors with salespeople who ask if you need help, but leave you alone when you don’t want it.
    I have done mystery shopping at both stores over the past two years and CC is not the one I choose to buy at.

  25. framitz says:

    Circuit City needs to go away.
    A few months back my wife and I went into the local CC. We were immediatly surrounded by no less than 4 young sales associate twits.
    There were maybe 4 customers in the store with at least 10 sales people not counting the people at the return counter and registers.
    The sales people were complete idiots that didn’t now the first thing about anything, we left never to return.

    Ciruit City is DONE.

  26. Pwnieboy says:

    Thing is, his strategy of firing highly paid commissioned sales people and replacing them with clueless hourly staff can work. I started at Best Buy in the early 90’s, right after they basically went through and did the same thing, for the next 7 years I worked there the company tripled it’s number of employee’s and god knows how much the sales went up (I also made a little cash from stock options as it split like 4 times while I was there).

    Shitty thing to do, but there is precedent to suggest that strategy works.

    • dveight says:

      @Pwnieboy: Philip J. Schoonover didn’t fire the commission sales people, it was the previous CEO, Alan McCollough that did that. Philip J. Schoonover is the one who fired the people that didn’t get axed (ie, the shitty sales people that didn’t make that much in commission) by Alan McCollough and replacing them with people even shitter then the ones that were not axed the 1st time.

  27. theblackdog says:

    Dang, and I just got 8Gb SDHC cards from them for a major steal.

  28. Ubermunch says:

    Poor ex-CEO….

    Now all he’ll have is the millions of dollars he made.

    Rich get richer… normal folks get screwed.

  29. ToadKillerDog says:

    I went to the Circuit City press release web site. The new guy appears to have no actual in-store experience listed. Could he be just another clown?

  30. Oobrakadoobra says:

    All I can say is thank god!! Does he get a golden parachute or are they giving it to him in CC stock? XD

  31. AntonioCachu says:

    I tried to get a job there as a computer repair tech. I went in for THREE interviews and the ONLY computer question they asked me was “How many computers have you built?” Every thing else was how good of a salesman are you?