Best Buy hires former Williams-Sonoma executive as CFO

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NEW YORK — Struggling consumer electronics chain Best Buy said Monday that a former Williams-Sonoma executive will become its new chief financial officer beginning Dec. 10.

It’s the latest executive move for the Minneapolis company since turnaround expert Hubert Joly joined as CEO in August.

Best Buy is trying to reverse a decline in its business due to a weak global economy and tough competition from online stores and discounters.

Sharon McCollam, 50, had been chief operating officer and chief financial officer at the home goods retailer before retiring. She also takes the title of chief administrative officer at Best Buy.

She replaces James Muehlbauer, who said he was leaving in October. Muehlbauer will continue to advise the company until the end of the fiscal year in February.

ISI Group analyst Greg Melich said McCollam is a solid choice to replace Muehlbauer. While she lacks direct consumer electronics experience, there are other similarities between the two retailers.

One similarity: Williams-Sonoma sells big-ticket items that are cheaper online. But through service offerings and online “prowess,” Williams-Sonoma manages to sell 40 percent of its products directly. She is also talented in real-estate management, Melich said.

Muehlbauer’s replacement is one of several management changes made since Joly joined in August, after Best Buy’s former CEO Brian Dunn left in April after an investigation into his relationship with a female employee.

Joly has eliminated two top executive positions in the U.S. and hired Expedia executive Scott Durchslag to head global e-commerce.

Meanwhile, Best Buy co-founder and former Chairman Richard Schulze is considering a plan to take the company private.

Best Buy reports fiscal third-quarter results Nov. 20. The company has forecast net income will be “significantly below” last year and a key revenue figure will fall.

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avidreader
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avidreader 11/13/12 - 07:06 am
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Best Buy Vs. On-Line!

Many times, buying electronics on line is a better bargain, including shipping costs. It's so simple. Just type a product name into the Google bar and see what pops up. I recently saved $50. on a simple Canon printer. My son's laptop was shipped for $190. less than the local retailers. It appears that Best Buy may be heading down the Circuit City route. A road to doom! It's sad because not only are jobs in jeopardy, but our local counties are not reaping the sales tax benefits. Something's got to change.

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