Best Buy taps in-house strate­gist as new CEO

The Buffalo News - - BUSINESS NEWS - By Matt Townsend

In nam­ing Corie Barry chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Best Buy Co. hands the reins to the ar­chi­tect of its cur­rent growth strat­egy, widely con­sid­ered to be one of the re­tail in­dus­try’s most re­mark­able turn­arounds.

Barry, chief fi­nan­cial and strate­gic trans­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer, will re­place Hu­bert Joly in June af­ter al­most seven years at the helm. In her out­go­ing role, she over­saw the com­pany’s cur­rent ex­pan­sion an­nounced in 2017, a rare con­sumer suc­cess story in the age of Ama­zon. The plan in­cluded find­ing new rev­enue streams, in­clud­ing an in-home ad­vi­sory pro­gram she spear­headed and that went na­tional in Septem­ber to help cus­tomers with any tech-re­lated is­sue.

The Barry-led push into ser­vices has helped Best Buy buck the trend of le­gacy re­tail­ers suc­cumb­ing to the shift on­line. Dur­ing the hol­i­day-shop­ping sea­son, the chain again topped ex­pec­ta­tions when many peers strug­gled. Sell­ing more ser­vices, war­ranties and ac­ces­sories around a gad­get, like smarthome light­ing, in­creases mar­gins, which has been key to Best Buy’s re­vival, according to Craig John­son, pres­i­dent of re­tail re­searcher firm Cus­tomer Growth Part­ners.

“They make as much money around the prod­uct as the prod­uct it­self,” John­son said. “They’ve done an ex­cel­lent job on that.”

Barry, who will turn 44 this week, has spent nearly her en­tire ca­reer at Best Buy, work­ing her way up the fi­nance side of the busi­ness. She re­places Joly, who will re­main with the com­pany as ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and main­tain an of­fice across the hall from Barry, whom he has men­tored for sev­eral years.

“The tran­si­tion makes sense at this point be­cause it’s good to do this from a po­si­tion of strength,” said Jonathan Ma­tuszewski, an an­a­lyst for Jefferies. “It’s also a pos­i­tive that Hu­bert’s not go­ing any­where.”

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