Best Buy names Hubert Joly as new CEO

Hubert Joly
Hubert Joly, the former CEO of Carlson, is expected to take over as chief executive at Best Buy in September.
Photo courtesy Carlson

Best Buy has appointed a new CEO, naming Carlson Companies CEO Hebert Joly to take over the strugging technology retailer in early September.

The Richfield-based chain picked Joly to succeed interim CEO Mike Mikan, who was put in place after a corporate scandal forced out Brian Dunn at the top of the company earlier this year.

All of this is part of a turbulent period at Best Buy that has seen founder Dick Schulze leave its board and offer to take the company private. The company last night said the board met Friday to talk about the takeover. Best Buy said the board wanted Schulze to hold off on an offer directly to shareholders until January, and talks broke off over the weekend. Schulze said this morning that his interest in taking over the company remains.

The board's decision to hire a new CEO also left open the top job at Carlson Companies, where Joly has been CEO since 2008. Carlson's board appointed chief financial officer Trudy Rautio to run that company. She is a former Pillsbury and Jostens executive.

Carlson, which operates such businesses as Radisson and T.G.I Friday's, announced on Sunday that Joly resigned from the top role.

"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 said in an official statement Monday. "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."

Rautio has been a senior executive at Minnetonka-based Carlson for 15 years. For the past eight years, she's been executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer. She replaces Joly, who had been president and CEO since 2008.

Industry analyst Michael Pachter says he thinks Best Buy's choice of Joly was hasty.

"I think the board is not thinking. I think the board is being completely short-sighted about this and thinking, 'We need a CEO. We don't need somebody who can fix the company. We need a CEO, and this guy is a CEO. And he's plug and play, and he lives in Minneapolis, let's put him in.' He's not going to do anything more than Brian Dunn was doing, which was nothing," Patcher said.

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