Best Buy exec changeups continue with search for new CFO

MINNEAPOLIS — More unsettling news from Best Buy this week, as the company announced the departure of EVP and CFO Jim Muehlbauer.

Muehlbauer, who joined the company in 2002, will support the company through 2013 as it searches for a new finance chief.

"Jim is leaving Best Buy after more than a decade with the company," said Hubert Joly, Best Buy's president and CEO. "We thank him for his many contributions and, of course, wish him well in the future. I have no doubt that whoever we chose to succeed Jim will have his high degree of integrity and passion for our business."

Though the company did not give a reason for Muehlbauer's departure, one can speculate that Best Buy's recent financial troubles might have played a role.

The company reported earnings of $12 million, or 4 cents per share, for its second quarter, compared with earnings of $150 million, 39 cents a share, the prior year. Excluding previously announced restructuring charges, net earnings from continuing operates were $68 million, or 20 cents a share, well below the 31 cents a share analysts forecast.

Total company revenues for the quarter declined 2.8% to slightly more than $10.5 billion, with same-store sales at domestic stores falling 1.6% and comps at international stores declining 8.2%.

On top of its financial struggles, Best Buy is dealing with founder and former chairman Richard Schulze's attempts to buy out the company, as well as breaking in a relatively new CEO, Hubert Joly, who has no retail experience.

With the holidays fast approaching, Best Buy has to get a move on if it wants to come out on top this season.


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