Best Buy brings founder Schulze back on board

Richard Schulze is returning to the company as chairman emeritus, bringing with him a pair of former Best Buy executives to join the board at the troubled electronics retailer.

Best Buy sign
Greg Sandoval/CNET

Best Buy said today that its founder, Richard Schulze, is returning to the company as chairman emeritus.

Schulze is also bringing with him a pair of new members for Best Buy's board of directors, former company executives Brad Anderson and Al Lenzmeier. The two are joining the board immediately and then will stand for election at the annual shareholder meeting in June, Best Buy said.

It wasn't so long ago that Schulze was trying to acquire Best Buy and take it private. Last August, he submitted an offer of between $24 and $26 a share to buy the approximately 80 percent of company shares he didn't already own. Talks on that proposal reportedly came to an end last month.

At the time of the August proposal, the possibility had been raised of both Anderson, a former CEO of Best Buy, and Lenzmeier, a former chief operating officer, returning to the company in connection with Schulze's efforts.

Anderson and Lenzmeier "helped build Best Buy into what it is today and will continue adding great value in their new role," Schulze said in a statement today.

Best Buy's board, meanwhile, today expressed "full confidence" in CEO Hubert Joly and the current management team in their efforts to turn around the troubled company. Last year, Best Buy announced plans to close 50 trademark big-box stores in the U.S. as part of its revitalization in the face of quarterly losses and the challenges posed by the likes of Amazon and other online retailers.

Schulze, who founded Best Buy in 1966 and served as CEO until 2002, had resigned as chairman last year, caught up in the scandal that brought down CEO Brian Dunn. Best Buy determined that Schulze had failed to inform the board of Dunn's relationship with a female employee.

About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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