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Joly Begins As Best Buy CEO

Minneapolis – Hubert Joly has begun his first official day as Best Buy’s new president/CEO.

The retailer had previously cautioned that his start could be delayed while the French national obtained a work visa, and even included a payout clause in his contract had he been unable to assume his new post.

Joly, a turnaround specialist who lacks a retail background, will spend his first week on the job working as a Blue Shirt sales associate in several Minneapolis-St. Paul area stores, the CE chain said.

“Best Buy is a company with an amazing history, enormous assets and great opportunities,” Joly said in a statement. “I am eager to start working with everybody at Best Buy to define and take the actions that will allow us to win in the marketplace, and to be seen by all of our stakeholders as the best buy.”

Joly, who was appointed chief executive on Aug. 20, assumes command of a company in turmoil. His predecessor, Brian Dunn, was purged in April for maintaining a personal relationship with a female employee, while prior knowledge of the transgression also toppled founder and former chairman Dick Schulze. Schulze is now spearheading an effort to take the retailer private and pursue his own plan to combat online competition and re-energize the business.

Joly inherits a separate strategy from Best Buy’s board that includes cost cutting, real estate reduction, a new store format and enhanced sales training. It remains to be seen how much of that blueprint Joly will follow, and what other options he may bring to the table in the coming weeks and months.