Best Buy CEO, CFO share thoughts on evolution of leadership roles

Best Buy announced changes coming to its top leadership ranks on Monday.

Current Chairman and CEO Hubert Joly will stay with the company and move into a newly created position, Executive Chairman. Corie Barry, currently Chief Financial and Strategic Transformation Officer, will become CEO effective at the completion of the company’s annual meeting of shareholders on June 11.

They’ve worked together for seven years, closely for the last three, and have deep respect for each other and passion for Best Buy.

Here’s what they had to say about the changes.

Hubert on his time as Best Buy’s CEO…

Leading this iconic, amazing Minnesota company will forever remain the greatest honor and delight of my professional life. It’s been extraordinary.

Hubert on the timing of the transition…

The personal reason is I’ve been a CEO, depending on how you count, for 15 or 20 years, and anybody who tells you the CEO job is a full-time job is misleading you. These are all-the-time jobs. I have a daughter who lives in Paris. I have a son who lives in Dubai who just had a baby girl in December, so I’m now a grandfather and I thought that having a bit more balance in my personal life — I had some demands from my children. Even though my granddaughter doesn’t speak yet I could see it in her eyes.

Hubert on his new role as Executive Chairman with Best Buy…

I’m going to continue to lead the board, and I am all in. I’m committed to supporting the new team providing advice and support to Corie and her team on strategy, capability building, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, external relationships. I am committed to making sure Best Buy is a force for good and a good corporate citizen. This is a very meaningful leadership role.

Hubert on the choice to select Corie as CEO…

This was a unanimous and enthusiastic decision on the part of our board. I am personally very, very excited. I’ve known Corie for almost seven years, and we’ve worked very closely together, particularly in the last three years. She knows the place, she’s highly respected and, importantly, she’s a terrific leader. A very human, authentic, purposeful leader. I couldn’t be happier about the choice and the partnership we’re going to continue to have.

Hubert on the future…

One of the things that gives me confidence in the future is the breadth and depth of the talent we’ve built at the company, both in the field and here [at corporate].

Corie on her relationship with Best Buy…

I am from Minnesota originally, and I grew up with the Sound of Music, and I grew up buying tapes and records. My grandparents would take me, and I would spend time feeding my love of music at the Sound of Music which became Best Buy. I’ve always loved this company and, starting my career here 20 years ago, I never could have known what my path would look like. But I have been incredibly fortunate… When this opportunity [to be CEO] came up, I could not have been more honored and humbled by the idea that I would have a chance to influence the next roles that we all fulfill.

Corie on the transition…

There are some things that are really important to me and that I think this transition really exemplifies. No. 1 is the idea of having a transition like this with such continuity — for Hubert to still be literally across the hall, for us to have an exceptional leadership team in place, and hundreds and thousands of employees who have a strategy they believe in and they’re actioning against. The second is the chance to really work as a team. These are strategic decisions that are only made better when you have great teammates. There’s a large Best Buy family out there that is ready to charge any hill, based on my experience, and that is our most compelling asset. It gives me such pride and excitement to be able to step into the role with that as the backdrop.

Corie on her time at Best Buy…

Having sat in a multitude of chairs, I have a deep respect for the talent, skills and assets that others throughout the organization bring. And it means I often like to reach out to other places to better inform decision-making.

Hubert on Corie’s strengths…

She’s very, very good from a strategic and vision standpoint. She’s equally exceptional at the ability to bring the strategy to life and understand the requirements to execute the strategy. That comes in part from her mind but also her vast experience working across multiple roles in the company. The third thing that’s exceptional is her leadership profile. Somebody who is truly authentic is driven by a noble purpose, it’s not about serving yourself and pursuing more power, it’s about serving people on the front line, creating an environment in which others can be successful. It’s about rallying the troops around a mission. Corie’s ability to connect with people is just exceptional.

Corie on Best Buy’s place in the changing retail landscape…

What’s been very helpful is that in the last couple years we’ve gotten very clear on our purpose, and that is to enrich people’s lives with technology. That purpose is not about what we think is best, it is about what our customers really need and want in order to make their lives better. We feel strongly that when you really address the needs of the consumer and do so in a unique way with unique value propositions — like the services we bring to market, the incredibly broad array of products that we have and that we’re consistently priced competitively — with all those assets at our disposal, you have a unique place in the market.

Hubert on the how the transition moves forward…

At the end of June 11, there will be no ambiguity about who is the CEO. Corie will be the CEO. I’ll have my chair leadership duties. The idea is to provide advice and support as it relates to the big items related to the company.

Corie on becoming CEO…

It is a big role, and I have to acknowledge that. Part of what makes it more comfortable is that it’s a big role at a place that feels like family. I have been here for 20 years. I have many friends, I have many mentors and I have many supporters. And I have many vectors of advice. When I combine all of those factors, it provides me a lot of excitement and honestly confidence in taking the role because you don’t feel you’re walking in to do this all by yourself. You feel like you have a wealth of support around you.

The three things Hubert is most proud of for his legacy…

No. 1, I think the company today more than ever is a purpose-driven, very human, engaged organization. You feel it when you’re in the stores, you feel it across the company. There’s a level of energy and sense of mission, and it’s a company that is focused on doing well by doing good. The second element of the legacy is all of the lives we’ve touched. The third element is the strength of the bench of the talent we’ve built. We’ve built something that’s sustainable and lasting.