This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Best Buy's Curious and Controversial CEO Move

Stocks in this article: BBY SBUX YHOO AAPL AMZN

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There must be more to what seems like an increasingly absurd story at Best Buy (BBY).

In late May, I wrote an article called Best Buy May Have Already Found Its New CEO. I argued that it "needs to think like a tech company" and lauded its March decision to name Stephen Gillett, formerly the chief information officer and head of digital ventures at Starbucks (SBUX), as president of Best Buy Digital and Global Business Services.

Gillett, who also sits on the board at Symantec (SYMC), has since become president of practically everything at Best Buy. Just look at his LinkedIn profile.

Best Buy continues to pile duties on to Gillett's plate. Why then wouldn't the company elevate the man who essentially operates as COO to the CEO slot?

At first blush, particularly in the aftermath of Yahoo!'s (YHOO) decision to name Marissa Mayer CEO, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Like Mayer, Gillett is under 40. He's not a retail lifer from the Midwest. He cut his teeth in Silicon Valley and drove mobile strategy at Starbucks for the last four years, laying the groundwork for the company's recent landmark mobile payments deal with Square.

Pause there for a second because it's the pivotal point that makes it appear as if Best Buy erred by passing up Gillett and giving the job, seemingly out of nowhere, to Hubert Joly, who ran privately-held Carlson Cos. Joly is 53 and, by all accounts, not tech- or mobile-savvy in the slightest. On the surface, he seems like the last person Best Buy should have turned to.

Every analyst in the world seems to think Best Buy should have named somebody with more retail experience as CEO. That's absurd. People with "more retail experience" deserve all of the blame for the mess Best Buy is in.

Retailers like Best Buy must stop identifying themselves as retail companies. When you run in spaces that Apple (AAPL) and (AMZN) direct, you have to operate like a tech, Internet or new media startup. Assume the attitude and mindset Howard Schultz put in place long ago at Starbucks.

Chris Murphy is the only other member of the media I have come across who has connected the dots. After the Starbucks-Square deal, Murphy, editor of InformationWeek, asked: Could Your Team Do It?

As he outlined the ingredients that led to the forward-looking pact, Murphy highlighted "another, critical piece of innovation infrastructure: people." He noted that InformationWeek named Gillett CIO of the Year in 2011 for his role in building Starbucks' "innovative infrastructure" in mobile, thus enabling the Square agreement.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs