Best Buy CEO Resigns

In the midst of an internal investigation about "personal conduct," Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn has resigned. The news was unexpected, although Best Buy has experienced declining sales, attributed to the access people now have to visit stores, compare prices, and then buy elsewhere. Two weeks ago, Dunn announced plans to close 50 stores and cut 400 staff.Best Buy

A 28-year employee of Best Buy, Dunn was selected as CEO in 2009. Some said Dunn was a poor choice given the company's challenges: he has sales experience but lacks the knowledge and expertise to fix the deeper problems.

The conduct issue remains a mystery, and because Dunn resigned in the middle of it, we may never know the outcome.

In a news release about new leadership, Best Buy assured the public that the decision wasn't business-related:

"The board of directors of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) today announced that Brian Dunn has resigned as chief executive officer and director. There were no disagreements between Mr. Dunn and the company on any matter relating to operations, financial controls, policies or procedures. There was mutual agreement that it was time for new leadership to address the challenges that face the company."

At the same time, the company did acknowledge the investigation in a statement to the press:

"Certain issues were brought to the board's attention regarding 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."

Focusing on business continuity, Best Buy's news release named an interim CEO:

"Director G. Mike Mikan has been named interim CEO to lead the company while a search for a new CEO is underway. Richard Schulze, the founder of Best Buy, continues to serve as chairman."

Read an update about the potential misconduct issue.

Discussion Starters:

  • Analyze Best Buy's news release as a bad-news message. What principles does the release follow, and what principles does it not use? What is the rationale for these decisions?
  • Evaluate the quotes in the news release by Dunn and Mikan. Do you find these reassuring?