Management Turnover as Change Agent

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Best Buy's Rival Leaves the Scene While Company Changes CEO

Best Buy BBY (NYSE), the U.S.’ largest electronics retailer, announced today that the company’s long serving CEO, Bradbury Anderson, would be retiring his position in June.  The company also announced that Anderson would be secededBradbury Anderson by president and chief operating officer Brian J. Dunn.  The succession announcement comes a week after the firm’s key rival, Circuit City announced it would liquidate its merchandise and close its stores and after Best Buy announced earlier in the month it would reduce its fiscal year 2009 earnings forecast.  In today’s announcement the company insisted Anderson’s retirement was not due to the difficulties the company has been facing due to the recession. According to a story by Sam Black for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal,Brian Dunn

“I’ve always wanted to leave the organization at the right interlude: when I saw a new leader ready to take the organization to a new level, higher than I could take it myself,” Anderson said in a statement. “For many months, I’ve felt that Brian was fully prepared to be CEO. Based on his readiness and the journey we’re about to begin, I’ve concluded that this is the right time for my story as CEO naturally to end, and Brian’s story to begin.  

“Furthermore, this timing for my retirement is consistent with my personal goals and in accordance with our succession plan. The best part is anticipating the great joy ahead of seeing where his story arc goes, and Best Buy One Year Stock Performance

how that transforms the company.” 

Anderson will complete his term as vice chairman even after he resigns his CEO position on June 24.  It is hard to accept Anderson or the company’s explanation for the announced change.  The difficulties Best Buy has faced this recent holiday shopping season and the fact that the company has so far been unable to take real advantage of its rival’s bankruptcy seem to be true reason behind the change in leadership.  Both Anderson and Dunn have labored at Best Buy from the beginning.  Each of them have worked their way up the corporate ladder.  Dunn knows the business and appears to be right for his new position.  According to a story by Mark Clothier for Bloomberg,

Dunn, who started with Best Buy in 1985 as a VCR salesman in the Minnetonka store, one of the retailer’s then 12, becomes CEO June 24. The 48-year-old has been president and COO since 2006.  

Best Buy remains an electronic retail behemoth that overall has been very well run.  The company is facing a new world as regards electronic retailing.  Dunn needs to find new ways to deal with a growing reticence on the part of  consumers to spend as they did in the past on electronics and more importantly the fact that consumers overall have reduced discretionary spending.  Keep a close eye on the Best Buy as its rival disappears from the scene and suppliers look to firm to help them succeed as well.    

For more:  


Associated Press  

Financial Times 


CNBC (Reuters)


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