twice connect
careers

Anderson’s Outlook: Bullish On CE And Best Buy

4/20/2009 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Minneapolis — One of Brad Anderson’s greatest contributions to the CE business, said president and CEO-elect Brian Dunn, is that “he looked out for the greater good of the CE industry while shepherding Best Buy.”

Anderson proved that point again last month during his next-to-last earnings call as CEO. In an eloquent affirmation of the industry’s strength and vitality, he robustly challenged naysayers who would suggest that CE’s, and Best Buy’s, best days are behind them.

He ended his statement with a gracious nod to Dunn, who succeeds him as chief executive in June.

Excerpts from Anderson’s address follow. — Alan Wolf 

MINNEAPOLIS — One of Brad Anderson’s greatest contributions to the CE business, said president and CEO-elect Brian Dunn, is that “he looked out for the greater good of the CE industry while shepherding Best Buy.”

Anderson proved that point again last month during his next-to-last earnings call as CEO. In an eloquent affirmation of the industry’s strength and vitality, he robustly challenged naysayers who would suggest that CE’s, and Best Buy’s, best days are behind them.

He ended his statement with a gracious nod to Dunn, who succeeds him as chief executive in June.

Excerpts from Anderson’s address follow. — Alan Wolf

Because of the challenging global economy, for the last few months we have heard more about the threats facing our industry over the longer term.

 As I approach my retirement from the role of CEO in June, I’d like to share my view with you of these threats.

Many say we’re a good company, but that it’s like being the best house on a bad street. Let me examine why some may view the consumer electronics industry as a “bad street.”

The first [alleged] threat to the company is that the product cycle we’re in is dead, as evidenced many say, by this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, often called CES. The concern is whether our profits peaked with the digital TV cycle.

 I believe the product cycle threat has never been a true threat. Those who invest in our company because they like DVD or flat panel may have invested wisely, but not for the right reasons.

The macro-trend is multi-product, and it’s not any one big innovation. That’s why we can never prove that we have a “killer app.” It’s not one thing, it’s literally thousands.

I’ve been to almost 30 CES shows, and it seems to me the headline almost every year is, “There’s Nothing New at CES.” I differ. There’s always something new at CES, it’s just hard to see.

My example this year is Windows 7, shown at the Microsoft booth at CES two months ago. Even the hardware companies are consistently saying that this product is much stronger than anything we’ve seen from Microsoft before.

Furthermore, Windows 7 could provide the fuel for thousands more innovations.

Look at the rate of growth in our industry; it was flat to down last year. It’s a highly discretionary category and it fared much better than housing or many other categories that are also discretionary.

Further, it deeply impacts people’s lifestyles. For proof, you don’t need to look any further than your own household.

We’ve only begun to see the digital lifestyle and the changes it will bring to how people live. Look at how much more a part of your family’s life technology is, and the number and types of technologies and applications we’re choosing, whether we’re 12 years old or 80 years old. Look at the customer benefits.

Is it stronger than it was in the past, or is it weakening? I believe we have not scratched the surface in terms of what people will do with digitization in their homes, in their businesses and in their vehicles, and that Best Buy can help.

In a horizon in which the products and services we offer look to become more important to consumers’ lives in the future than they are today, I believe our boundaries are not market by borders, and are only limited by the imagination of our employees.

So we’re poised here today in a challenging global economy, but with a set of products and services that have never been more relevant.

I’ve enjoyed the last years as CEO and view myself as a transition figure in the company’s story. We had a huge adaptation to make when I began, from a product-centric company to one that looks at customers with depth and at its employees as having unique strengths.

In my seven years as CEO I started the journey, and I’m proud of that. But more of the journey is ahead of us than is behind us. Being CEO is like being a parent, and I say that Best Buy is a teenager.

One of the things that excites me in retiring has been handing the reins to Brian, and the sense that I have of the continuity of that dream. Yet it’s not precisely the same dream, and he’s certainly someone who exemplifies being able to adapt and to surmount any obstacles.”

 

PHOTOS
Nationwide PrimeTime 2014

Scenes from Nationwide PrimeTime buy fair held in

ProSource Meeting Filled With Optimism

San Antonio — Optimism reigned at ProSource’s

Ingram Draws 500 To Spring Vendor Expo

Scottsdale, Ariz. — Ingram Micro Consumer

CEA Holds ’14 Digital Patriots Dinner

Washington — CEA held its annual Digital Patriots’

8 Technology Accessories For a Greener Earth

An Earth Day review of Earth-friendly products, by

BrandSource Shows Diverse Product Selection

BrandSource’s Summit show at the Marriott World