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Dunn To Build On Anderson’s Base

4/20/2009 02:01:00 AM Eastern

Best Buy’s incoming CEO plans to continue to build the company upon the foundation set by chairman Dick Schultze, and his own predecessor and mentor Brad Anderson.

“There’s no massive new strategic direction,” Brian Dunn said. “The course Dick started and the customer-centricity platform that Brad initiated is absolutely the right direction. “My job,” he said, “is to take that into the digital era, to get connected with our customers and help them service up their lives.”

Dunn’s ascension coincides with unprecedented economic upheaval, which has necessarily tempered his game plan. “We’ll re-sharpen our value message and remind consumers that we have great prices and offer great value, from the opening price point up to white-glove treatment,” he said.

Dunn acknowledged the “uncharted economic waters ahead” during a recent conference call with investors. But the company “steadfastly believe[s] in the course we charted,” he said, and that the challenging times will create new opportunities for those who execute well and stay close to their customers.

“Our core philosophy is putting technology at the service of our customers,” he told TWICE.

Dunn will bring to the job a decade’s worth of tutelage under Anderson. A key worldview they share is the importance of “broadening your perspective, on seeing the big picture, and determining what you can bring in from the outside to elevate the business.”

On a practical level, that means borrowing more insights from Best Buy’s expanding global operations, while sending expertise from the domestic business abroad. “We’re going to recombine our DNA,” he said, citing the successful Best Buy Mobile format as an example. “We took [Carphone Warehouse’s] expertise and vendor relationships and connected technologies in ways that make sense. We’re going to do more of that.”

Dunn also shares a store-level background with Anderson, and plans to remain plugged in at all operational levels. “I will talk to store personnel and walk the factory floors of Asia,” he said. “I’ve been an operator for a long time and context is very important to me.

“I’ll push the business and cajole it, but I’ll step away from it too, to spend more time with our vendors, with our folks in Washington, and with all of our constituencies to come up with new solutions for our customers around the world.”

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