Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY) appointed a new CEO, a French-born manager with a reputation as a turnaround expert, as tensions with the struggling electronic retailer's founder intensified.
Hubert Joly, who was named Monday as president, CEO and director of the Richfield, Minn., company, will assume his new post after he acquires a new work visa for the job. The company's board said it picked Joly for his experience in turning around failing companies. Joly will replace interim CEO G. Mike Mikan, who will remain on the company's board as head of the audit committee.
Earlier this month, Best Buy founder Richard Schultze announced his intention to buy the company back for between $24 and $26 per share. He is in talks with private equity investors and Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE: CS).
Late Sunday the company announced it would abide by Schulze's "due diligence" request to examine the company's non-public financials, but Schulze rejected the offer because it came with a stipulation that he avoid going directly to shareholders until Jan. 1. On Friday the board had requested an 18-month timeframe, but softened its stance over the weekend. Schulze was not impressed.
"I am disappointed and surprised by the Best Buy Board's abrupt termination of our discussions. For the record, we engaged in good-faith negotiations with Best Buy's Board and its advisors over the weekend and expected to conclude this matter before the Company's earnings announcement early this week," he said in a statement on Monday. "Time is of the essence, and it is imperative that shareholders' interests are not further jeopardized."
Joly stepped down on Sunday as head of Carleson, the privately held Minnetonka, Minn.-based hospitality company that owns the Radisson hotels and T.G.I. Friday's restaurant brands. Trudy Rautio, Carleson's chief financial officer, was named the company's new president and CEO.
Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY) shares fell $1.57, or 7.75 percent, to $18.72 in morning trading.