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Best Buy Reorganizes Intl. Team; Tips Hand On DTV Changeover Plans

Best Buy has named several executives to new or expanded roles within its international division under CEO Bob Willett.

“Our growing global presence requires seasoned and savvy leaders to carefully manage our expanding family of international brands,” Willett said. “Our international leadership team is focused on driving growth for our enterprise around the world.”

Among the appointments:

  • David Berg, formerly international strategy and corporate development executive VP, was named COO of Best Buy International, reporting to Willett and responsible for the operations of all of Best Buy’s brands and businesses outside of the United States. Berg played a key role in Best Buy’s sale of Musicland, its venture with The Carphone Warehouse, and its entry into China, Mexico and Turkey;
  • Tasso Koken, formerly merchandising senior VP, was named international merchandising and global sourcing senior VP, a newly created role. A veteran of Sears and The Wiz, Koken also leads the development of the company’s international e-commerce strategy, and reports to Berg;
  • Paul Antoniadis, previously international retail operations senior VP, was named CEO of Best Buy Brands, a division of Best Buy Europe, the company’s new venture with The Carphone Warehouse. He is charged with establishing a Best Buy presence in Europe, based on the company’s customer-centric business model. He reports to both Berg and Roger Taylor, CEO of Best Buy Europe.

Separately, Best Buy held a series of events within the Wilmington, N.C., market, which earlier this month became the first in the United States to permanently transition from analog to digital TV broadcasts. The activities, which included converter-box demos at town hall meetings held jointly with the Federal Communications Commission, provide a preview of the retailer’s plans for the nationwide conversion in February. Other activities included:

  • donating converter boxes to a local senior citizens facility in conjunction with the Consumer Electronics Association;
  • conducting in-store education sessions and setting up DTV education tables; and
  • giving Wilmington-area stores priority allocations of converter boxes.

In other Best Buy news, the retailer became the first to carry Apple’s iPhone 3G outside of Apple’s and AT&T’s own stores, effective Sept. 7. The exclusive distribution, which represents an expansion of Best Buy’s growing relationship with Apple, further bolstered the chain’s Best Buy Mobile in-store shops while diminishing RadioShack’s authority in wireless.

Best Buy Mobile also had first dealer dibs on sales of Sprint’s Samsung Instinct touchscreen phone, which RadioShack began carrying one month later over Labor Day weekend at a special limited-period price of $99.