Hubert Joly has a reputation in the global business world as an expert in turning around declining companies, and, now as president and CEO at Best Buy, that reputation will be put to the test.
Joly takes over at a company that is fighting off challenges from its growing internet competition and has face turmoil at its top leadership position. Now he may have only a short time to prove himself before a takeover from the company’s founder could leave him out of a job.
Best Buy founder Richard Schulze is in the midst of a takeover attempt, and, should his plan to take the company private go thorough, the founder might want to get rid of Joly, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune noted.
Hubert Joly insists he’s up for the challenge.
“I’m not suicidal,” Joly insists. “Rightly or wrongly, here I am.”
The company’s board was impressed with Hubert Joly’s reputation as a sort of turnaround expert, said board chairman Hatim Tyabji. In a press release issued by the company, Tyabji said:
” Hubert was an outstanding candidate for this position and I am confident he will be a great fit for Best Buy. Hubert’s range and depth of experience in transforming companies is exactly what the company needs at the moment, as is his energetic, imaginative and experienced leadership in executing strategies.”
Hubert Joly said he is excited to lead the company and sees many areas of potential growth. In the company’s press release he said:
“Best Buy has extraordinary assets — including its 167,000 employees, its huge customer base, its distribution and service capabilities, its well-recognized brands, and its history of innovation. I look forward to working with the Company’s management team and employees to pursue what are exciting growth opportunities for Best Buy – both online and offline, through a combination of competitive prices, superior service, new growth engines and innovations, as we deliver to millions of customers the technology solutions that enable easy access to people, knowledge, ideas and fun.”
Joly is expected to start as president and CEO in September once his visa is secured. He takes over for G. Mike Mikan, who was appointed interim CEO in April after former CEO Brian Dunn resigned amid allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with a female employee.
Despite the interim tag, Mikan was anything but a placeholder, leading Best Buy into new relationships with Target, Verizon, and AARP.
“We can’t thank Mike enough for his service as CEO,” Tyabji said. “We asked Mike to step into a difficult situation, and he moved the company forward in the right direction. We were fortunate to have his guidance and energy. I look forward to his continued service on the Board in his new position as chair of the Audit Committee.”
Hubert Joly has experience turning around companies. He led the restructuring of Vivendi’s video game’s business — now part of Activision Blizzard — from 1999 to 2001, which included developing a massive online presence with Diablo II and later with World of Warcraft. Joly also oversaw the integration of Universal and Vivendi’s media assets in the US and was part of a team that led the restructuring of Vivendi in 2002 to 2004.
Joly also drove the turnaround of EDS in France between 1996 and 1999, taking a company with a rapidly declining 1.3 billion French Francs in revenue to one making 2.1 billion per year.
So far, his appointment as president and CEO hasn’t impressed Wall Street. Experts question whether his resume has enough to support his job ahead, and the company’s stock dipped 10 percent upon his being named, the Star-Tribune noted.
Joly, a French citizen, said he knew the job wouldn’t be easy when he took it.
“I like challenges,” Hubert Joly said. “Given the turmoil [at Best Buy], it’s easy to focus on its problems. But I’m impressed with its assets. We have the opportunity to write what could be an exciting new chapter here at Best Buy.”