Best Buy has been navigating some rough seas lately, but it would seem the company has finally found the skipper it’s been looking for. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier today that Best Buy has hired former Carlson CEO Hubert Joly to take over the CEO position from placeholder Mike Mikan.
Joly is slated to begin his tenure at the Minnesota-based company in September — he’s still working on getting his Visa.
That said, it doesn’t seem like Best Buy’s shareholders are heartened by this most recent turn of events. Best Buy’s stock price is currently hovering around half of what it was five years ago. It’s not the most dramatic drop I’ve seen a company’s stock price take recently — that dubious distinction goes to RIM — but I half-expect BB’s stock to level off once people get more of a feel for the talented Mr. Joly. At time of writing, Best Buy’s stock price is down more than 7.5% from its closing position on Friday.
Watching the goings-on at electronics retailer Best Buy these past few months is almost like watching a soap opera’s convoluted storyline unfold. The company’s recent financial woes (and an “extremely close relationship” with a female employee) prompted CEO Brian Dunn to step down. Founder Richard Schulze left soon after that because he failed to bring up said relationship with the company’s board. Oh, and Schulze is offering $8.5 billion to take his company private again.
Now there’s a new player on that stage.
There’s been much ado made about how the Frenchman has been instrumental to turnarounds at a handful of ailing companies (think Vivendi and Electronic Data Systems), but one has to wonder if he’s really up to a task like this. Best Buy was once comfortably at the top of the big box electronics retailer heap, and it was content to watch while rivals like CompUSA and Circuit City went belly up. These days, though, the company faces tremendous pressure not only from physical retailers but from major players like Amazon, whose inventory, aggressive pricing, and logistical prowess continue to provide consumers with a more convenient way to shop.
The company has already begin its pivot away from massive, warehouse-esque stores — the company committed to closing 50 of them earlier this year, and new store prototypes are said to take more than a few pages from Apple’s vaunted retail playbook. The ball is already rolling, and we’ll soon see what Joly does with it.