Best Buy CEO being investigated for ‘personal conduct’

Really? “Personal conduct?” Martin Moylan at MPR says: “Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn is leaving the company amid an investigation into his personal conduct. The company surprised observers with the announcement Tuesday morning that Dunn is resigning by mutual agreement with the company. No reason was specified. But many analysts and investors surmised the departure was a result of Dunn’s struggle to deal with the stiff competition Best Buy faces from other big-box and online retailers. Hours later, though, the company said Dunn chose to resign amid an internal investigation into his personal conduct. A spokeswoman for Best Buy’s board of directors issued a statement reading, “Certain issues were brought to the board’s attention regarding Mr. Dunn’s personal conduct, unrelated to the company’s operations or financial controls, and an audit committee investigation was initiated. Prior to the completion of the investigation, Mr. Dunn chose to resign.”

David Phelps and Janet Moore at the Strib cover “the new guy,” interim CEO G. ‘Mike” Mikan. “Mikan, who turned 41 on Monday, has been on the Best Buy board of directors since 2008 and knows Chairman Richard Schulze. In addition to his tenure on the board, Mikan also is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas, where the business college’s school of entrepreneurship is named after the Best Buy founder, who remains the company’s largest shareholder. Both men call Edina home. … Analysts who follow the company say Mikan can help provide stability in the wake of Dunn’s surprising departure, but they predict someone else be selected to take the job permanently. ‘Mikan’s a proven leader, but I think you need to bring in fresh blood and fresh ideas,’ said Matt Arnold, an analyst with Edward Jones & Co. ‘Best Buy can take this opportunity to look everywhere to find someone who is relevant to the marketplace.’ Dave Brennan, professor of marketing at St. Thomas, agreed. ‘Mikan is a financial guy. In the longer term, the real issues are marketplace issues,’ said Brennan, co-director of the Institute for Retailing Excellence. ‘They need to look outside the organization for someone familiar with Internet retailing.’ Mikan’s professional credentials were burnished in the big [UnitedHealth Group’s] … finance department, which he joined in 1998.” Well then, he obviously knows something about profits.

It will be interesting to see how well prepared the folks at the American Legislative Exchange Council are for the lawsuits aimed at their Voter ID initiative in Minnesota. MPR’s Tom Scheck writes: “Only days after the Legislature approved a proposed constitutional amendment that will ask voters this November to require that Minnesotans show photo identification at the polls, groups that oppose the measure vowed to fight it in court. ‘This question is deceptive and misleading to voters and the court should strike it down and reject it,’ Mike Dean, executive director of Minnesota Common Cause, said Monday. Dean said his group and the Minnesota chapter of the America Civil Liberties Union are preparing a lawsuit to stop the amendment from getting on the ballot. … But even if the initiative makes it to the ballot and is approved by voters, the legal wrangling could continue, said state Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley. ‘That’s where most of the court time is going to be spent,’ Winkler said. ‘We can’t go back and fix this by passing a law. We have to amend the constitution to change it and the final word on the constitutional language is in a court. There will be non-stop litigation by both sides on this issue.’ ”            

Well, there’s always Superior … or Brimson. MPR’s Dan Kraker files a story discussing Duluth’s need to be a bit more welcoming to young people. “Duluth, a city of about 85,000 that has seen its population remain stagnant for the past 25 years, needs to hang on to people like [Forest Lake’s Brian] Spiese to spur economic growth. But historically it has had trouble doing so, in part because of local attitudes. Last year, the Miami-based Knight Foundation released a major study of the city with a troubling conclusion: it doesn’t embrace the young people it needs to attract. Duluth will need to change that perception to fulfill an ambitious goal Mayor Don Ness has set for the city: boosting the population to 90,000 people by 2020. The city only needs to add 5,000 residents to reach that goal, but that would be Duluth’s biggest growth spurt since the 1940s. City officials are trying hard to attract and retain young professionals and college graduates. But that’s a challenge, given that the most mobile person in America is a 24-year-old with a bachelor’s degree or more education.”

Oh, baby! Let’s buy a boat! Minnesota’s revenues are running ahead of projections. The AP reports: “An update Tuesday from Minnesota Management and Budget says net general fund revenues totaled nearly $2.5 billion in February and March, which was $106 million or 4.4 percent better than forecast in February. The agency says increased income tax withholding receipts are the largest factor, mostly from one-time bonuses rather than stronger underlying wage growth. Tax receipts for fiscal 2012 now total $11.8 billion, 4.1 percent better than at this point last year. The figures give only part of the budget picture because spending patterns aren’t included. The last projections in February showed a $323 million surplus.” Hell, twin inboard motors, too.

Given her choice of boyfriends, this isn’t all that surprising. The AP story says: “A former girlfriend of O.J. Simpson has been jailed on charges of stealing pain medication from a patient. Authorities say 37-year-old Christie Michelle Prody, of Moorhead, was an in-home nursing assistant for a Moorhead man whose wife noticed that nearly 300 tablets of his oxycodone were missing two months ago. According to court documents, the wife installed a surveillance camera that recorded Prody stealing other pills last week. The Forum newspaper reports the video allegedly shows Prody stealing morphine and lorazepam.” Has anyone checked to see if a pair of Bruno Magli shoes is also missing?

Sorry, no retraction. James Walsh of the Strib reports: “Heart Rhythm Journal will not retract an article by Minneapolis cardiologist Dr. Robert Hauser, despite St. Jude Medical’s insistence that it is biased and inaccurate. Dr. Douglas Zipes, managing editor of the online journal and a professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, said Tuesday that Hauser’s work analyzing deaths attributed to St. Jude’s Riata and Medtronic Inc.’s Quattro Secure leads had been extensively peer-reviewed before it was accepted for publication. A lead is a wire that connects an implantable defibrillator to the heart. ‘It’s not going to happen,’ Zipes said of a retraction. Little Canada-based St. Jude Medical Inc. on Friday demanded a retraction, saying that Hauser under-counted the number of deaths associated with the Medtronic device in his comparison with Riata leads.”

The Strib editorializes on the departure of Rick Santorum from the GOP presidential race, and the repair job now needed for Mitt Romney: “The inevitable news that Mitt Romney now has a clear path to the Republican presidential nomination is worth celebrating. Not so much because Romney has earned the nod with fresh ideas and courage of conviction, but because his opponents have been so weak. The further he fell behind, the more Rick Santorum played to what now appears to be the GOP base. A Santorum campaign that began with a focus on jobs and the economy devolved into a rally for the Tea Party and social conservatives. He will not be missed. Santorum had become a walking-dead distraction, with little hope of winning but an uncanny ability to draw attention to the differences between the Republican far right and farther right. His candidacy was valuable only because it laid bare the reality that the Republican Party circa 2012 is no monolith, and that its far-right faction is wedded to notions that differ markedly from American majority thought. … Repeatedly in recent weeks, Romney has tried to turn his campaign’s narrative toward the general election, only to have Santorum’s sideshow pull him back to themes that appeal more to GOP primary voters than to the nation as a whole. Watching Romney respond was revealing. Seldom did he offer full-throated criticism of Santorum, though he had to know that failing to do so would hurt him among many general-election voters, especially women. Ahead in the polls and delegate count for months, Romney didn’t need to be so cautious. His meekness suggests an exaggerated fear of his own right flank and a troubling lack of confidence in his own ideas.” Well … someone had a couple of Red Bulls before they hit the keyboard, I think.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s repeal of the “Equal Pay Enforcement Act” several days ago has won him no new friends with either liberals or women … not that he was expecting any from the former or very much from the latter. But the editors at The National Review have his back. They write: “Walker signed its repeal on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, the Left pounced. State senator Dave Hansen accused Walker of ‘turning back the clock on women’s rights in the workplace.’ His fellow senator Christine Sinicki said the move was typical of an ‘anti-woman’ legislative session. Obama’s campaign joined in the fun, with spokeswoman Lis Smith claiming the bill ‘showed how far Republicans are willing to go to undermine not only women’s health care, but also their economic safety.’ But simply put, there is no great sex-discrimination problem in Wisconsin workplaces that is not being addressed by federal law and preexisting state laws. Further, by making it easier to extract punitive damages from businesses, the 2009 law made Wisconsin companies vulnerable to frivolous claims. … No doubt, there is still some sex discrimination in America, and given that it is illegal, alleged victims should have their day in court. But that does not mean states should make lawsuits as remunerative as possible — and there’s no evidence that the federal government and longstanding Wisconsin laws are doing an inadequate job of providing relief.” The piece goes on to assert that the existing review process is unimpeachably thorough. If that’s true, why would they worry about “frivolous claims”?

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/11/2012 - 06:41 am.

    It’s amazing and instructive

    how important the Left believes it is to stop voters from having to identify themselves.

    • Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 04/11/2012 - 09:34 am.

      Not at all

      we just object to the right being in charge of the ID process because y’all have a tendency to ask voters if their grandparents were legal voters.

      If this was about what you say it’s about, the amendment would have passed unanimously. Once again Republicans talk about one thing, but their inner Southern Democrats have a very different and hostile agenda.

    • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 04/11/2012 - 09:38 am.

      It is amazing and instructive

      the lengths that conservatives will go to try to rig elections by creating a fix to a problem that does not exist.

  2. Submitted by Lora Jones on 04/11/2012 - 08:38 am.

    What’s amazing and instructive

    is how passionately the Royalist Right wants to keep people from voting.

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/11/2012 - 09:35 am.

    No, what’s amazing

    is the amount of energy being invested to solve a non-existent problem while matters of substance are left to fester.

  4. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 04/11/2012 - 10:02 am.

    The Party of Non-Existant Problem Solvers…

    while Dennis is hard at work here in Minnesota, his little friend Scott Walker’s solving Wisconsin’s overwhelming problem of punitive damages from frivilous lawsuits. All brought to you by the LapDogs of the 1%.

  5. Submitted by Walt Cygan on 04/11/2012 - 10:03 am.

    What’s also amazing

    is why the Right wants people to vote on an amendment without knowing what it will really cost and what it will mean for absentee voting and election day registration. All without the slightest evidence that voting fraud exists in any significant way. “Just trust us,” they say. “No,” I say.

  6. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 04/11/2012 - 10:11 am.

    also amazing and instructive

    is how consistently the right denies the real reason for this bill. For all their searching for voter fraud they found one mom who voted for her daughter. It will be interesting to see if my 92-year old mom gets denied a vote because her expired drivers license doesn’t have her current address at the assisted living facility

    I think no fair minded person could deny that there is a greater chance of people being disenfranchised by this law than there have been documented cases of fraud in the last 20 years. That’s another reason why I believe that most people on the right are not fair minded.

  7. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 04/11/2012 - 11:38 am.

    election day registration

    I’ve run into Minnesotans who not only registered to vote at the polls, but thought that was just normally when registration was done. How are they going to react to having election day registration abolished? Republicans say it won’t be, but they mandate verification procedures that simply can’t be done on the spot. They say it’s going to still work, but they can’t explain how. Since the reassurances we’ll still have election day registration come from Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, who didn’t even know we don’t already have provisional ballots, consider me not reassured.

  8. Submitted by Wayne Swickley on 04/11/2012 - 12:46 pm.

    I was long-ago amazed and instructed.

    I was eighteen, had just gotten my second real paycheck, and went to the grocery store where my family had done our shopping for as long as we’d lived in my home town. I endorsed the check with the same signature that I’ve used since tenth grade, passed it to the woman at the customer service desk, and was stunned when she refused to cash it. It seems that my signature, which matched my driver’s license, did not match the name on the front of the check. The company had put a middle initial, which I never use (ever) in my records, and subsequently on my paycheck, and this woman absolutely refused to cash it because the signature did not EXACTLY match the name on the front. I suspected then that it was mainly because she didn’t like the way I looked, but I never shopped there again, so I couldn’t ask her. I wound up going to a bank. And another grocery store. But I’ve never forgotten.

    It was 40+ years ago, but I wonder if she’s still around and is going to be an election judge somewhere. Or if she has like-minded relatives. “I’m sorry, sir, but your driver’s license has a middle name and your voter registration only has a middle initial. You can’t vote today,” accompanied by a huge SEG.

    This scheme is bad news, designed only to keep people from voting, and the only fraud involved is in the publicly-disclosed reasoning behind its inceptioon and subsequent passage.

  9. Submitted by Susan McNerney on 04/11/2012 - 01:31 pm.

    RE: best buy – why even tell the public

    about the investigation? There’s not an analyst in the world that would disagree with the decision to dump the guy right now, for purely business reasons. Very strange.

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