Best Buy Brings Back Former Chairman And Co-Founder Richard Shulze To Board As Company Struggles Against Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target

on March 25 2013 1:16 PM
Schulze
Richard Schulze has rejoined the board of the company he founded, Best Buy, as chairman emeritus. Wiki

Richard Schulze has rejoined the board of the company he founded, Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY), as chairman emeritus, marking a reconciliation with the company's board and the end of Schulze's attempt to buy out the struggling retailer.

The move keeps the company's current CEO, Hubert Joly, in charge as Schulze says he supports Joly's plans to turn the company around.

"Over the past several months, I have come to know and respect Hubert and have a high regard for the work he and his executive team are doing to revitalize Best Buy for the benefit of all stakeholders," Schulze said in a statement. "My dedication to the company that I founded and love is unwavering and, together with Hubert and the board, I determined that the best way to support Best Buy would be to return in support of the initiatives under way."

Schulze founded Best Buy in 1966 and has a 20 percent stake in the company. Schulze had considered making a buyout bid but never made a formal offer in 10 months.

In August 2010, Best Buy hired as its CEO turnaround expert Hubert Joly, who has had to cut jobs, face a significant sales slump and begin closely matching online prices.

Schulze left under a cloud. A 2012 internal investigation concluded that Schulze had knowledge of an inappropriate relationship that the previous CEO, Brian Dunn, had with a female staffer. Schulze was pushed out of his chairman role in May 2012 and left the board that June after the controversy involving Dunn.

Joly expressed optimism about working with Schulze again. "I am delighted our founder, Dick Schulze, is returning to the company as its chairman emeritus," Joly said in a statement. "His passion, wisdom and insight are legendary."

Schulze and his board nominees are returning to a very different company than it was when they last worked together. Best Buy is struggling against Amazon.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), and its stock is doing far worse than its retail competitors' stocks are doing -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) at $75 and Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) at $68.

Schulze has nominated two former Best Buy executives to the board: former CEO Brad Anderson and former Chief Operating Officer Al Lenzmeier.

Best Buy's shares rose as high as $23.45 after Monday's news. The stock price hit its lowest point of the past year in late December at $11.29. In 2010, it had traded as high as $48.58.

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