Best Buy Appoints Weak CEO Search Committee as Chairman Lurks

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Best Buy’s (NYSE: BBY) board selected an astonishingly weak committee to begin the search for a new CEO after former chief executive Brian Dunn made a disgraceful exit. The committee’s opinion will not matter. Chairman and founder Richard M. Schulze continues to have de facto control over the large consumer electronics company which has savaged investor value through a series of poor management decisions. As of the last proxy, Schulze owned almost 18% of the firm’s outstanding shares. He is responsible for the corporation’s demise

Kelly J. Higgins Victor will chair the search committee. According to the last Best Buy proxy, since 1994 she has been president of Centera Corporation, an executive development and leadership coaching firm that she founded. She has no experience to run the search. It is a wonder she did not coach Dunn, who desperately needed it. Centera Corporation employees a total of only five “coaches” which make the firm a joke.

Lisa Caputo is also a member of the search committee. She is executive vice president, marketing, and communications of The Travelers Companies (NYSE: TRV).  Caputo’s role is little more than acting as the senior PR person for her employer.

Ronald James sits on the search committee. He is president and chief executive officer of the Center for Ethical Business Cultures in Minneapolis. He should not even be on the Best Buy board, let alone the search committee, based on his current job.

The final member of the committee is Sanjay Kholsa. He is an executive vice president and president for Kraft (NYSE: KFT) developing markets. Kholsa, because of his experience as a global executive at a large company, is the only person on the committee with even close to the appropriate qualifications.

Investors should be disappointed with the composition of the committee, even if it is unlikely to make a recommendation without Schulze’s blessing.  The backgrounds of the members are an indication that Best Buy’s board is just going through the motions as it tries to find a new leader.

Douglas A. McIntyre