Best Buy Hires CEO Amid Stalemate With Ex-Chairman


As the stalemate continues between Best Buy and its founder and former chairman regarding a possible sale, the Minneapolis-based big box retailer has named a new CEO.

Best Buy's board of directors has appointed Huber Joly as its new president and CEO.

Joly is regarded as a turnaround expert and comes to Best Buy from Carlson, a global hospitality and travel company, where he was president and CEO since March 2008.

He previously led a restructuring of video game-maker Vivendi, which included the development of that company's online strategies for Diablo II and World of Warcraft games and also drove a turnaround of EDS (since acquired by HP) in France between 1996 and 1999, according to Best Buy.

"Hubert was an outstanding candidate for this position, and I am confident he will be a great fit for Best Buy. 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," said Hatim Tyabji, Best Buy's chairman, in a statement.

Joly is expected to join the company in early September after his visa paperwork is concluded, according to Best Buy. He will succeed Mike Mikan, a board member who has served as interim CEO since April.

Meanwhile, Best Buy also said that it had offered founder Richard Schulze an opportunity to conduct due diligence and pursue acquiring the company, but the company said Schulze "declined to participate."

Schulze previously has stated he is concerned about the company's future and made public an offer to purchase Best Buy for between $24 and $26 a share with equity backing.

Best Buy's board offered Schulze a proposal in which Schulze would have to "agree to certain protections for Best Buy and its shareholders, with the goal of limiting outside distractions, in return for access to nonpublic information and the ability to form an investor group," according to the retailer.

In a statement released Sunday night, Schulze said he had rejected Best Buy's proposal because the company "initially proposed an 18-month standstill" that was unacceptable to him.

"Urgent change is needed at Best Buy, and value is eroding further every day that change is not effected," Schulze wrote in the statement. "We were in the process of negotiating an acceptable standstill period when, without notice to me or to any of my advisers, the board issued its announcement.

"I am shocked by this course of action, but as the largest shareholder of Best Buy, I remain hopeful that the board will engage in good faith discussions with us for the benefit of shareholders, employees and customers. Time is of the essence, and it is imperative that shareholders' interests are not further jeopardized."

PUBLISHED AUG. 20, 2012