Best Buy taps in-house strategist as new CEO
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.”