Media Moves

Coverage: Best Buy names a new CEO

April 16, 2019

Posted by Chris Roush

Best Buy

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly is handing leadership of the reinvigorated electronics retailer to longtime executive Corie Barry as part of the company’s succession plan.

Damian Troise and Anne D’Innocenzio of the Associated Press had the news:

Barry, who is currently the company’s chief financial and strategic transformation officer, will become the fifth CEO in Best Buy’s 53-year history and the company’s first female CEO.

Joly will become executive chairman of the board after stepping down.

It was only a few years ago when skeptics were ready to write the obituary of Best Buy. But under Joly, who took over as CEO in 2012, the company is being reinvented, focusing on driving online revenue as well as improving the in-store experience as many traditional retailers face dwindling foot traffic and sales. Online sales now account for about 22% of Best Buy’s business.

Best Buy is also working to build deeper relationships and increase total revenue from customers who are shopping both online and in stores. That means reducing the time a customer has to spend at the pickup counter.

Phil Wahba of Fortune reported that Barry helped Joly turn the company around:

His strategies, for which Barry was a key architect, have paid off handsomely: on his watch, shares have more than quadrupled in value, with Best Buy’s market capitalization reaching nearly $20 billion. In February, Best Buy reported its eighth straight quarter of comparable sales growth.

Since joining Best Buy in 1999, Barry has served in a number of financial and operational roles; in 2016, she added CFO to her existing title of chief strategic growth officer. She took on the role of chief strategic transformation officer last year. She also sits on Domino’s Pizza’s board.

Barring any changes to the current list of women CEOs in the Fortune 500—or to any expected appointments or exits—before June 11, Barry will bring the number of female chiefs to 30 when she steps into the job.

Catherine Roberts of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Joly is ready to retire:

Over the past four years, annual earnings per share have nearly doubled. Same-store sales comparisons have risen for eight consecutive quarters. And he has changed the mind-set of the company: Instead of selling electronics, Best Buy will help to fulfill customers’ needs through technology. He likes to call it the “happiness” business.

That means putting more of an emphasis on in-home adviser services, a new health care monitoring business and the technology and staffing to allow people to shop the way they want, whether it is in a store or online. It also means continuing partnerships with companies from Samsung and Apple to Amazon to provide expertise to customers when they shop.

Yet to lead a company is never a 9-to-5 or even 9-to-9 job, he said, and he has been doing it in top spots for 20 years now. “To say it’s a full-time job is misleading,” he said in an interview. “These are all-the-time jobs.”

He would now like to slow down a bit. But he said he’s extremely proud of what the company has become. That includes greater training opportunities and benefits for employees at all levels and cutting turnover rate from the mid 50s to the low 30s.

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