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Hubert Joly: Building A Better Best Buy

And they said it couldn’t be done.

Just three scant years ago pundits were ready to write off Best Buy, which, between sagging sales, a corner-office scandal and a 1,000 brick-and-mortar liabilities, seemed dead in the water and ready to go the way of Circuit City.

Enter Hubert Joly, a tall, dapper Frenchman fresh from the hospitality industry who quickly won over Wall Street with his calm, methodical assessment of the situation, and who averted a proxy fight with founder, former chairman and majority shareholder Dick Schulze by presenting him his resume and offering a honorary title.

Under his turnaround playbook, dubbed Renew Blue, Joly cut costs, improved efficiencies, rebuilt the backend, lowered prices, jettisoned offshore operations and overhauled Best Buy’s woefully lacking web business.

He also enlisted some of the best help around, coaxing finance star Sharon McCollam out of retirement to be his chief financial officer, and bringing in the industry’s top vendors to reinvigorate his sales floors and share the real estate burden by supporting branded instore shops.