Best Buy Names New CEO, Even As Founder Angles To Buy Company Back

The CEO-go-round at Best Buy continues to spin, as the electronics company announced this morning that it had chosen a successor to CEO Brian “These dishes are” Dunn, who left the company under a cloud of scandal — all while company founder Richard “Don’t call me Sergeant” Schulze moves forward with his bid to arrange a buy-back of the business.

So who is this person who will lead Best Buy into the future to compete against online retailers and earn back the respect of retail shoppers? Hubert Joly, CEO of Carlson, which owns, among other brands, Radisson Hotels, Country Inns & Suites, and T.G.I. Friday’s.

“Hubert was an outstanding candidate for this position and I am confident he will be a great fit for Best Buy,” said Hatim Tyabji, chairman of the Best Buy Board. “Hubert’s range and depth of experience in transforming companies is exactly what the company needs at the moment, as is his energetic, imaginative and experienced leadership in executing strategies.”

Mr. Joly says he intends to “pursue what are exciting growth opportunities for Best Buy – both online and offline, through a combination of competitive prices, superior service, new growth engines and innovations, as we deliver to millions of customers the technology solutions that enable easy access to people, knowledge, ideas and fun.”

Frenchman Joly is slated to take over the reins at Best Buy in September, after he secures a visa. Interim CEO Mike Mikan will continue to play CEO at Best Buy until then, though we assume it will be to the calls of “lame duck walking!” as he strolls through company HQ.

All of this comes as Schulze is talking to private-equity firms to negotiate a buy back of Best Buy stock. He has publicly stated that the company’s current plan of shrinking its retail business is only pushing the business closer to the grave.

Instead, Schulze advocates investment in the business while at the same time cutting prices at the retail level. It’s a risky proposition that would be difficult, if not impossible, to pull off with a publicly owned business that has to return a profit to shareholders.

However, the hiring of a board-approved CEO shows that the company is not going to wait around for Schulze to put financing together for his experiment, and that Joly will likely continue the planned further contraction of Best Buy’s retail business in the coming months.

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