updated 10:36 pm EDT, Mon March 25, 2013
Ex-CEO returns as advisor to assist in company turnaround
Electronics retailer Best Buy announced today that co-founder Richard Schulze is rejoining the company in its quest to turn its struggling finances around. In a prepared statement trumpeting his return, Schulze said he is returning to "support the initiatives" put in place by the new CEO, Hubert Joly. Schulze is not returning to the board of directors.
Schulze stepped down as chairman of the board in 2012 following CEO Brian Dunn's resignation under controversial circumstances. Echoing the sacking of Mark Hurd as CEO of HP, Dunn is alleged to have engaged in inappropriate conduct with a 29-year-old woman working at one of Best Buy's leadership training facilities.
The attempted buyout of Best Buy by founder Schulze failed. The deadline passed on March 1 for Schulze and his team of investors without a bid having been placed for the ailing electronics retailer. Along with the buyout failure, the company reported fourth quarter results that showed the company lost $377 million for the period, continuing its current financial trend.
Revenues for the quarter reached $16.7 billion, up from the $16.67 billion from the same quarter last year. The loss of $377 million in 2012 is also a year-on-year improvement, as the company lost $405 million in 2011. Domestic revenues declined 0.3 percent to $12.55 billion, with the closure of 49 outlets being blamed, though the 0.9 percent comparable store sales increase and revenue from 126 Best Buy Mobile stores helped fill the earnings gap.
Online sales increased 11.2 percent, reaching a record $1.3 billion for the quarter. Schulze's return is said to imply tacit approval of Joly's controversial recovery plan, which has shuttered stores and caused the loss of 400 jobs at its corporate headquarters.