Best Buy CEO steps down, 'personal conduct' being investigated

Tech Corner

POSTED: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 2:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 2:04pm

An investigation into personal misconduct led Brian Dunn to step down from his post as CEO of Best Buy.

Claire Koeneman of H+K Strategies, a spokeswoman for the Best Buy board of directors released the following statement:

"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."

No further details about the investigation have been released.

In a written statement earlier on Tuesday, Best Buy said Dunn's resignation was a mutual agreement and that it's time for new leadership to address the challenges that face the company.

Best Buy went on to say Dunn enjoyed every one of his 28 years with the company and leaves it in a position for a strong future.

Dunn worked his way up the corporate ladder.

He started at Best Buy as a sales associate in 1985 when the company had just a dozen stores.

Best Buy recently announced it would close 50 stores and move others from a big box style to smaller stores.

Additionally, it would lay off 400 workers at its corporate headquarters in Richfield, Minnesota.

"Best Buy's big mistake is they've done a terrible job over the last several years of integrating they're retail locations with their online presence," said author and Forbes contributor Larry Downes.

Downes is critical of the way Best Buy has handled its business and pointed to a major hiccup this past Christmas when stores ran out of popular items and didn't tell consumers until a couple days before the holiday.

"What contingency plans do they have to anticipate the future and to take advantage of the future as opposed to being surprised by it," said University of Minnesota's Akshay Rao.

Rao said Best Buy must begin to look less at the day to day operations and more at its long term future.

He said the company should already be looking at the competitors of tomorrow to work at getting their customers to return.

"Best Buy needs to ask itself what do consumers do when they engage with me," explained Rau. "What can I do to get them to engage with me and when they engage with me what other kinds of engagements can we develop."

Hamline University's Vice President of Marketing Jeffrey Rich said the "flawed" business model, neglecting paying more attention to brick and mortar stores at the expense of more innovative e-commerce, is the real reason for Dunn's departure.

"The performance of the corporation, I think, had more to do with Mr. Dunn's resignation, leaving Best Buy, than any other issues that might be swirling around right now," said Rich.

In the meantime, Mike Mikan will serve as the temporary CEO while the company searches for a new one.

The 41-year-old is the grandson of Minneapolis Lakers basketball star George Mikan.

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