We're looking to bring in new talent with fresh perspectives for those new areas and change initiatives ... we're facing today, coupled with promoting from within.Hope may have already arrived at Best Buy. The "new talent with fresh perspectives" is already on the payroll. And Best Buy's board of directors would be certifiably insane not to hire him or somebody like him.
Best Buy Needs to Think Like a Tech CompanyEarlier this year, Best Buy lured Stephen Gillett away from Starbucks ( SBUX) where he was CIO and head of digital ventures. He has quickly assumed a wide-ranging set of responsibilities at the company, with a focus on making technology the focal point of everything Best Buy does. Gillett is a well-respected tech guy through and through. As InformationWeek put it:
Gillett's career arc shows how indispensable technology is becoming to the customer experience. CIOs who can help companies make technology a bigger part of that experience are moving into broader leadership positions. InformationWeek named Gillett its Chief Of The Year in December for his work in making technology a core part of Starbucks' coffee shop experience.At Starbucks, Gillett instituted a wide range of "tech-driven initiatives," such as a mobile payments smartphone app and enhanced, in-store WiFi that allows customers to access media such as The Wall Street Journal and free iTunes music downloads. Simply put, Gillett will need to make Best Buy look more like a hip tech company than a big box electronics retailer.
Part of Fortune's 2010 40 Under 40 top executives list, Gillett is the type of fresh talent Best Buy desperately needs. He's a Silicon Valley guy. He sits on the Board at Symantec ( SYMC). Along with the likes of Pandora ( P) founder Tim Westergren and LinkedIn ( LNKD) founder Reid Hoffman, Gillett is an 2010 Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow. And Starbucks President and CEO Howard Schultz speaks highly of him at several points in his book about that company's extraordinary turnaround. They already made the right move bringing him on as a president, but the BBY Board would be close to crazy if it overlooks Gillett for the CEO gig. All the search committee needs to do is take a look at what another former Starbucks executive, Christine Day, has done at Lululemon ( LULU). Best Buy can no longer think like an electronics retailer. Downsizing and remodeling stores does not represent the type of change the company requires. To survive, Best Buy must undergo a massive and wholesale transformation. In two years, Best Buy should be unrecognizable to itself. And that will be a good thing. Simply put, the company cannot achieve such a drastic metamorphosis by taking the "safe" route and naming a stodgy 58-year old life-long retail executive as CEO. I think the company's board understands this and will act accordingly. It already paid the price when it named a BBY lifer as CEO. I would be surprised if Stephen Gillett does not get the Best Buy CEO job. I would be shocked if Best Buy doesn't hire a person with a similar set of tech-oriented skins on the wall.