Circuit City CEO steps down

The electronics retailer selects a new chief executive, president, and chairman while it tries to turn itself around.

Philip Schoonover, chairman, president, and CEO of embattled electronics retailer Circuit City, resigned Monday, the company announced.

His resignation is effective immediately, and he will be replaced by James Marcum as president and CEO, and by Allen King as chairman of the board of directors.

          Philip Schoonover Circuit City

Marcum joined Circuit City's board in June and was elected vice chairman in August. His specialty is electronics retail--he was selected in order to help the struggling retailer while it tries to right itself. He has helped several other specialty retailers while in the midst of their own turnarounds.

Newly installed chairman King said in a statement, "The board of directors is committed to accelerating the pace of the company's turnaround. Since he joined the board in June, Jim has been very effective in partnering with senior management and in helping identify opportunities to deliver increased value for our shareholders, customers, vendors and associates over the long term. We look forward to his continued contributions in this new important role."

Schoonover became company president in 2005, and ascended to the chairman and CEO's office a year later. But Circuit City has struggled. It posted a $200 million loss in December 2007, and has improved only moderately since then. The company expects to report losses in the range of $170 million to $185 million for the current quarter. Those results will be announced next week.

Earlier this year, a potential savior--albeit an unexpected one --appeared when Blockbuster announced it was interested in taking over Circuit City. The electronics retailer wasn't open to the video rental chain's advances, and one particularly vocal investor publicly encouraged Schoonover to consider the sale to Blockbuster or to a private equity firm .

Blockbuster withdrew its offer in July after perusing the retailer's books.

Circuit City is not the only electronics retailer struggling. CompUSA looked to be rescued when Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu purchased the retail chain, only to close down much of the branches and sell the remaining few to a private equity firm last year, which sold the brand to Systemax.

Best Buy doesn't have the same problem. In the midst of an economic downturn, the company last reported earnings of $737 million .

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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