Minneapolis — Brian Dunn formally succeeded Brad Anderson as CEO of Best Buy during its annual meeting Tuesday morning, and pointed to product connectivity as the company’s next major growth engine.
Anderson, Best Buy’s second CEO after founder and chairman Dick Schulze, remains vice chairman, and will continue to serve as an advisor and corporate ambassador, Schulze said.
In his first address as chief executive, Dunn told shareholders gathered at corporate headquarters, here, that Best Buy has succeeded by breaking old business models before they became obsolete, and will continue to “embrace challenge and change.”
Dunn described the company as “restless,” and said it repeatedly overcame critical challenges during its history by making daring, game-changing moves. These included the switch to a non-commissioned sales model in the 1980s, improving efficiencies and margins by standardizing operating procedures in the 1990s, and embracing the consumer-focused and employee-empowering customer centricity model in the 2000s.
The latter concept, aggressively promoted by Anderson after Best Buy had already become the world’s largest CE specialty chain, recognized that the company was “built on the shifting sands of the product model,” Dunn said, as Walmart drove down merchandise margins.
The next phase of growth will come with global expansion and by providing consumers worldwide with “ubiquitous connectivity” through their phones, computers and TVs. “Connectivity expands the size of the prize for everybody,” Dunn said, including customers and shareholders.
Dunn thanked Anderson and Schulze for their dedication and “courage during the inevitable periods of drought,” and Schulze read a proclamation recognizing Anderson for his invaluable contribution to the company.
“Brad truly bleeds blue blood,” Schulze said, “and epitomizes all that is good in leadership … Brad, I personally thank you for all your years of service.”
Schulze added that he was glad the management ascension came from within, and lauded Dunn, who began on a Best Buy sales floor, for “understanding our strengths, acknowledging our weaknesses” and working tirelessly to find new ways to improve the business.
“If we think outside the box and always do what’s right for the customer, we will prevail,” Schulze said.