Leadership cloud weakens Best Buy’s future to move ahead

REUTERS/Mike Segar
Founder Richard Schulze has approached the Best Buy board with a buyout offer.

In the hyper-competitive business world, companies that delay major decisions often end up as losers.

It’s been four months since Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn abruptly resigned and it’s unclear when a permanent successor will be named.

This week, the company’s future ownership was thrown into question after it became public that founder Richard Schulze has approached the Best Buy board with a buyout offer.

The consumer electronics behemoth was losing sales to online retailers well before Best Buy’s Audit Committee found that Dunn “violated company policy by engaging in an  extremely close personal relationship with a female employee that negatively impacted the work environment.”

Dunn’s departure was unexpected and speedy, so board members picked one of their own, Mike Mikan, to captain the ship while Best Buy looked for a permanent CEO.

Recruiting firm Spencer Stuart is searching for candidates for the Best Buy CEO position, and it’s reasonable to assume they will find candidates with retail experience in online sales and brick-and-mortar stores.

Mikan, a former executive at UnitedHealth Group, is not a creature of the retail environment.

So it’s difficult to envision that he would be selected to take on the gargantuan assignment of overhauling Best Buy’s business plan for the short-term and long-term.

While Mikan is working on turnaround strategies, they could be shelved if Schulze succeeds in taking the company private.

Or Mikan’s approach could be cast aside if Best Buy remains a publicly-traded company and the board of directors gives the permanent CEO’s job to somebody else.

Back-to-school shopping is in full swing and the holiday shopping season is closing in, but Best Buy is operating under a cloud of uncertainty.

Will Best Buy remain a publicly-traded corporation or become a private company?

Will Richard Schulze secure the opportunity to execute his own turnaround plan?

Who will become the next CEO charged with transforming the company?

Four months of corporate drama already have engulfed the Richfield-based retailer.

It’s time to resolve the company ownership issue, which will then clear the decks for choosing a new CEO.

Delaying these crucial decisions would simply make Best Buy’s ultimate transformation work more difficult.

Best Buy’s board needs to act sooner rather than later because Best Buy’s formidable competitors aren’t standing idle.

Fedor can be reached at lfedor@minnpost.com.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Mitch Larson on 08/09/2012 - 01:49 pm.

    Old news

    For such a big MN business story, I was hoping for some info that wasn’t 3 or more days old.

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