New Best Buy boss starts gig in stores

Hubert Joly
Best Buy President and CEO Hubert Joly, right, speaks with a worker at one of the company's stores in the Twin Cities on Tuesday, September 4, 2012. Joly will spend much of his first week on the job working as a "blue shirt" in several Best Buy locations in the Twin Cities.
Photo courtesy Best Buy

If you shop at a local Best Buy this week, the retail chain's new president and CEO might be the staffer who helps you buy a TV or refrigerator or diagnose your computer problems.

Hubert Joly, the retailer's top boss, will spend much of his first week working as a "Blue Shirt" in several Best Buy locations in the Twin Cities.

Morningstar retail analyst R.J. Hottovy said the move is pretty standard for executives these days.

"You see a lot of people who embrace that management style, getting in the weeds and seeing what the day-to-day operations are like and to be able to identify any in efficiencies that way," Hottovy said.

Best Buy spokeswoman Kelly Groehler said Joly is trying to get a first-hand understanding of the retailer's business.

"You might think he's just another 'Blue Shirt,'" Groehler said. "That's one of the key things he wants to experience here. ... It's important to be on the front line and witness where our employees' experience and our customer experience come together, as he takes on this new role."

Some analysts have lamented Best Buy's new leader lacks retail experience. Joly previously led the global hospitality company Carlson.

Hottovy said analysts are eager for Joly to outline a strategy to counter intense competition from online and brick-and-mortar rivals.

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