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Best Buy Reorganizes Senior Ranks

Best Buy’s organizational chart changed this month with the promotion and pending retirement of president/chief operating officer Allen Lenzmeier, the surprise departure of Best Buy Stores’ president Mike Keskey, and the creation of a new customer business group that will include the company’s customer centricity initiative.

Lenzmeier was given the additional title of vice chairman, one that he will now share with CEO Brad Anderson, to whom he continues to report. The 61-year-old president also announced his planned retirement from the company in March 2006, allowing ample time to implement a succession plan, Best Buy said. Until then, Lenzmeier will focus on “developing future growth platforms,” which could include overseas expansion.

Keskey, 49, left the company for “personal reasons” on Dec. 3, reportedly bound for an unannounced destination. He joined in 1989 as a store manager, was promoted to VP in 1996 and was named executive VP/retail sales in 2001. A year later he succeeded Lenzmeier as president of Best Buy Stores — part of the company’s post-Dick Schulze succession plan — and most recently served as point person for its customer centricity effort.

His was the second major departure of a senior Best Buy manager in two months, following that of Phil Schoonover, who left in September for the top merchandising spot at Circuit City. Schoonover, a former senior VP/merchandising, last served as executive VP of customer segments. Following his departure, his customer centricity group came under Keskey’s jurisdiction.

Succeeding Keskey in the expanded role of president of retail/North America is Brian Dunn, 44, a 19-year Best Buy veteran who had previously succeeded him as executive VP/retail sales. Dunn now reports directly to Anderson.

Keskey’s customer centricity duties were given to John Walden, 44, founding president of and former executive VP/human capital and leadership, who was tapped to head the newly created customer business group as executive VP. The new business group encompasses the customer centricity segment teams as well as the company’s marketing, advertising and communications functions, its customer call centers, and the store design and experience development group.

Succeeding Walden is Shari Ballard, 38, formerly senior VP/human resources – retail service delivery.