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Best Buy Searching For New Services Chief

Minneapolis – Best Buy has begun an executive search for a new head of its high-margin services business amid the impending departure of its current president Chris Askew.

On an earnings call on Tuesday, president/CEO Huber Joly tacitly confirmed Askew’s exit after less than two years on the job.

The NCR, Dell and Lenovo veteran was brought on board in September 2013 to reverse falling comp sales for the unit, which encompasses service contracts, extended warranties, product repair, delivery and installation, and the company’s 20,000-strong Geek Squad support team.

Comps for the business declined 11.4 percent during the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31 due to lower extended warranty attach rates and fewer mobile repair claims the company indicated, further reducing its share of the sales mix from 5 percent to 4 percent.

Joly said the unit needs to improve its delivery and installation experience, and cited plans for increased marketing support and greater Geek Squad integration online.

The business will report directly to him until a successor is named, he said, underscoring “the strategic importance we see for services today and in our future strategy.”

Joly told analysts that the ideal candidate will essentially act as a CEO for the segment, and should combine “strong operational performance,” a “strong strategic and growth-oriented approach,” and should be good with costs, customers, technology, the Internet and “high-touch experiences.”

 He added that the company is looking for “somebody who is going to help us improve what we have, which is a great set of assets, but take it to the next level.” 

Askew succeeded services senior VP George Sherman, who had held that post for nearly four largely profitable years.