MINNEAPOLIS, September 26 /CNW/ - Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) today
announced changes in its leadership team intended to strengthen the company's
ability to draw insights from employees, customers and partners in order to
provide excellent customer experiences and solutions; provide clear
accountability for each element of the enterprise's growth strategy; and place
leaders with strong points of view on how to generate growth in roles where
they can bring those ideas to life. Unless otherwise noted, all changes are
now in effect.
"Our strategy for driving growth is to enable our employees to build
stronger relationships with customers around the world. To do this, we must
continue to get better at listening to and acting on the insights and ideas
these relationships generate. That requires us to adjust the way we are
organized to help ensure that we are best positioned to maximize individual
and collective strengths, capabilities and experiences," said Brad Anderson,
Best Buy's vice chairman and CEO.
"Best Buy has multiple channels, multiple brands and tens of thousands of
employees who can help us learn from and serve our customers in new and unique
ways," said Brian Dunn, Best Buy's president and chief operating officer. "We
believe that the organizational alignment being announced today will
facilitate the ongoing growth and progress of our company."
Jackson Moves to New Role, Interim CFO Named
Darren Jackson, age 42, the company's chief financial officer for the
past seven years and, more recently, CFO and head of the company's Emerging
Business unit, has moved to the newly-created position of executive vice
president, Customer Operating Groups. In this role, Jackson leads Best Buy's
entertainment, PC mobility and home solutions operating groups and also has
oversight for enterprise merchandising. Best Buy Financial Services, Best Buy
For Business, Magnolia Audio Video and Pacific Sales will continue to report
to Jackson. A graduate of Marquette University, Jackson began his retail
career with Carson Pirie Scott & Co. in Milwaukee, holding various executive
positions, including chief financial officer. He then spent three years with
the Seattle-based Nordstrom, Inc. as vice president and chief financial
officer of its full-line store division. Jackson serves on the board of
Advance Auto Parts. He also serves as the vice chairman of the board of
trustees of Marquette University and on the board of Cristo Rey Network. In
his new capacity, Jackson reports to Dunn.
"Best Buy has benefited greatly from Darren's leadership and insight as
CFO. His deep-seated understanding of our business, coupled with his
commitment to our culture and the development of our people, makes him a
driving force in the next phase of Best Buy's growth," said Dunn. "Darren's
desire to refocus his leadership from finance to running our Customer
Operating Groups allows us to gain more clarity and accountability around the
significant opportunities in front of us. Darren plays a critical role as he
brings teams together to create opportunities to share expertise, create
targeted solutions and ultimately drive growth by better meeting the needs of
the unique customer groups within each of these brands and businesses."
As Darren Jackson makes this important transition to lead the Customer
Operating Groups, Jim Muehlbauer has agreed to serve as Best Buy's interim
CFO. Muehlbauer's five years with Best Buy, including his current assignment
as chief financial officer of Best Buy U.S., as well as his oversight of the
enterprise's investor relations, tax and controller functions, have prepared
him to take on this interim responsibility. Muehlbauer, age 45, joined Best
Buy in 2002 as the CFO of Musicland. Prior to that, Muehlbauer spent 10 years
with The Pillsbury Company, where he held various senior-level finance
management positions, including vice president and worldwide controller. A
certified public accountant (inactive), Muehlbauer was named senior vice
president, Finance, in 2003 and senior vice president and CFO of Best Buy U.S.
in 2006. Muehlbauer reports to Anderson as interim CFO.
"We have every confidence in Jim serving in this interim role. He has
adroitly managed our accounting, investor relations and tax functions for the
past year, on top of reshaping our cost structure and supporting our U.S.
business," said Anderson.
The company said that the executive search firm of Heidrick & Struggles
has been engaged to conduct a formal search of internal and external
candidates for the chief financial officer position.
Kal Patel, age 43, formerly executive vice president, Strategy and
International, assumes responsibility for portions of the Emerging Business
unit, previously led by Jackson. In his new role, as executive vice president
- Emerging Business SBU, Patel leads the company's efforts to initiate,
incubate and implement growth opportunities while increasing the enterprise's
capabilities for innovation. He also will focus on building relationships with
venture capitalists to enable Best Buy to learn from the experiences of others
and quickly adapt best practices to advance the company's business objectives.
Patel joined Best Buy in 2003 as vice president, Strategy, and was named
executive vice president, Strategy and International, in 2005. He was
previously a partner at Strategos, a London-based consultancy focused on
framing and implementing major growth-driven transformation initiatives for
clients across multiple industries. He holds a master's degree in business
administration from the London School of Business. Patel reports to Dunn in
his new capacity.
"Kal's world view, his understanding of the power of networks and Silicon
Valley bring a unique perspective to this leadership team," said Dunn.
McGeehan to Lead Best Buy Mobile Worldwide
Tim McGeehan, age 40, a 19-year veteran of Best Buy and current executive
vice president, Retail Sales, has accepted a new enterprise role overseeing
Best Buy Mobile and the enterprise's expanding global wireless business,
through its strategic relationship with The Carphone Warehouse Group PLC
(CPW). McGeehan will oversee the rollout of Best Buy Mobile across North
America and internationally; he also will play a key leadership role in the
enterprise's international expansion. McGeehan began his career with Best Buy
as a sales associate and advanced through the retail organization with
expanding responsibilities, including roles as general manager, district
manager, regional manager and regional vice president. In 2002, McGeehan was
named senior vice president, overseeing stores in the eastern half of the
United States, and was appointed executive vice president, Retail Sales, in
2005. In his new role, McGeehan will report to Robert Willett, chief executive
officer of Best Buy International and chief information officer.
"Tim's new position demonstrates the importance of our strategic
relationship with CPW, and the growth opportunities we see in the connected
technology world. The focus, energy and drive demonstrated by Tim as we grew
our U.S. retail business will serve us well as we increase the pace of our
transformation in wireless and work toward a vision of being the first choice
for customers around the globe in this increasingly connected world," said
Ballard Assumes Leadership of U.S. Retail Stores and Other Customer
With McGeehan's move to an enterprise role, Shari Ballard assumes
responsibility for the 872 Best Buy stores in the United States, including
territory, district staff and store personnel, as well as customer research
and development, including Best Buy's lab stores. In her new position as
executive vice president, Retail Channel Management, Ballard, age 41, will
focus her energies on deepening customer relationships and better utilizing
the full range of talent and resources that reside within the company's U.S.
retail stores. Ballard, who has been with Best Buy since joining in 1993 as an
assistant store manager, continues to have oversight for U.S. Web sites and
Customer Care, including the call centers, duties she has held since August
2006. In addition, Ballard relinquishes her role overseeing Best Buy's human
resources and legal teams, a responsibility she has held since 2004. Executive
leadership for the HR function will be announced in the near future. Best
Buy's legal function will continue to report to Joe Joyce, senior vice
president, general counsel and assistant secretary. In her new position,
Ballard reports to Dunn.
"Shari has a compelling point of view about how we grow our business,
community by community, store by store. Her passion and deep understanding of
the retail business are critically important as we further explore how we
build deep and lasting relationships with our customers. Whether it's in
person, on the phone or online, we want our customers to know that we are
creating solutions just for them. We are organizing our business in a way
that's intuitive to our customers," said Dunn.
Layden Named COO of International Unit
Kevin Layden, president and chief operating officer of Best Buy Canada,
Ltd., will become chief operating officer of Best Buy International, the
strategic business unit focused on the enterprise's growth outside of the
United States. In his new role, Layden, age 47, will provide the operational
leadership for the company as it continues to grow its presence in Canada and
China and prepares to expand into Turkey and Mexico. The top executives from
each country in which Best Buy operates outside the U.S. will report to
Layden. Layden joined Best Buy Canada (then Future Shop, Ltd.) in 1997. Since
then he has played a major role in executing the company's successful
dual-brand strategy in Canada and growing the company's operating profits.
Previously, Layden had a 17-year career with Circuit City Stores, Inc. in the
United States. Layden is the chair of the Retail Council of Canada and serves
on the boards of the Business Council of British Columbia and Tree Island
Industries. Layden's new role will be effective Jan. 4, 2008; he will continue
to report to Willett.
"Our operations in Canada are on a sound strategic course with solid
momentum thanks to Kevin's leadership," said Willett. "He helped architect our
dual-brand approach in Canada and re-energized the Canadian team's dedication
to understanding the unique customers served by its distinct brands - and how
to grow both. The lessons learned along the way will serve him well as we plan
our entry into other countries."
The company said that Mike Pratt, age 40, will become president of Best
Buy Canada, Ltd., with oversight of all Canadian operations, including the
Future Shop and Best Buy stores, effective Jan. 4, 2008. Formerly senior vice
president for Best Buy Canada, Pratt played an instrumental role in managing
Best Buy Canada's rapid and successful growth and expansion. Pratt and the
Best Buy Canada team created unprecedented market share and growth for the
operation, starting with eight locations in the greater Toronto area in 2002
to 48 stores today in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and
Saskatchewan. Pratt has held numerous roles in his 17 years with Future Shop
and Best Buy Canada, most recently responsible for Best Buy stores, marketing,
advertising, store design and Canada's Commercial Sales Group. Pratt continues
to report to Layden.
David Berg, who was senior vice president and chief operating officer of
Best Buy International, assumes responsibility as senior vice president,
International Strategy and Corporate Development. Berg, age 46, is now
responsible for the enterprise's mergers and acquisition activities as well as
the identification and evaluation of opportunities in new geographic markets.
He continues to have overall responsibility for the company's commercial
office, including oversight of Best Buy's relationship with Accenture as an
information technology and human resources outsourced service provider. In
addition, he continues to be responsible for the function at Best Buy
responsible for purchasing all of the company's goods not for resale. An
honors graduate of the University of Florida College of Law, Berg joined Best
Buy in 2002 as vice president and associate general counsel. He played crucial
roles in the company's sale of its Musicland division, the development of its
strategic relationship with Accenture, and its acquisition of a majority
interest in Jiangsu Five Star Appliance. In 2004, Berg was promoted to senior
vice president, Strategic Alliances, where he focused on maximizing
enterprise-wide strategic relationships with significant external parties. He
was named senior vice president and chief operating officer of Best Buy
International in 2006. Berg continues to report to Willett.
Wanta Joins as CIO, North America
The company also has announced the hiring of Rebecca Wanta as Best Buy's
chief information officer, North America. Wanta has over 25 years in the
information technology field and brings expertise in infrastructure
management, enterprise architecture and common services development that
translate into solutions to help companies widen their competitive advantage.
Most recently, Wanta was the global chief technology officer (CTO) for PepsiCo
where she developed and commenced implementation of a multi-year technology
strategy. Prior to that, she was the chief technology officer with the Feld
Group, serving as the CTO for engagements with Southwest Airlines and
Wellpoint. She also served as CTO at Wells Fargo, managing all enterprise-wide
common services. Wanta holds a master's degree in business administration in
banking from Pacific Coast Banking School, University of Washington, and a
second master's degree in business administration with a concentration in
management information systems from Golden Gate University. Wanta joins Best
Buy on Oct. 19, 2007; she will report to Willett who retains his enterprise
chief information officer role.
"Becky is a highly driven executive with a demonstrated track record in
leveraging technology to its greatest advantage and transitioning
organizations from technology-centered cultures to customer-centered
cultures," said Willett.
Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements:
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning
of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 as contained in
Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 that reflect management's current views and estimates
regarding future market conditions, company performance and financial results,
business prospects, new strategies, the competitive environment and other
events. You can identify these statements by the fact that they use words such
as "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "project," "plan,"
"outlook," and other words and terms of similar meaning. These statements
involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to
differ materially from the potential results discussed in the forward-looking
statements. Among the factors that could cause actual results and outcomes to
differ materially from those contained in such forward-looking statements are
the following: general economic conditions, acquisitions and development of
new businesses, divestitures, product availability, sales volumes, pricing
actions and promotional activities of competitors, profit margins, weather,
changes in law or regulations, foreign currency fluctuation, availability of
suitable real estate locations, the company's ability to react to a disaster
recovery situation, and the impact of labor markets and new product
introductions on overall profitability. A further list and description of
these risks, uncertainties and other matters can be found in the company's
annual report and other reports filed from time to time with the Securities
and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Best Buy's Annual
Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on May 2, 2007. Best Buy cautions that
the foregoing list of important factors is not complete and assumes no
obligation to update any forward-looking statement that it may make.
About Best Buy Co., Inc.
Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) operates a global portfolio of brands with
a commitment to growth and innovation. Our employees strive to provide
customers around the world with superior experiences by responding to their
unique needs and aspirations. We sell consumer electronics, home-office
products, entertainment software, appliances and related services through more
than 1,200 retail stores across the United States, throughout Canada and in
China. Our multi-channel operations include: Best Buy (BestBuy.com, BestBuy.ca
and BestBuy.com.cn), Future Shop (FutureShop.ca), Geek Squad (GeekSquad.com
and GeekSquad.ca), Pacific Sales Kitchen and Bath Centers (PacificSales.com),
Magnolia Audio Video (Magnoliaav.com), Jiangsu Five Star Appliance Co.
(Five-Star.cn) and Speakeasy (speakeasy.net). Best Buy supports the
communities in which its employees work and live through volunteerism and
grants that benefit children and education.
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