Robert A. Willett, 60, was the right man in the right place when Best Buy Co. hired him in 2002 to consult. The operational efficiency guru and then-global managing partner for Accenture LLP preached the gospel of consumer centricty to the consumer-electronics giant, which, realizing it could no longer compete on price alone, was looking to differentiate its shopping experience. Willett taught Best Buy how to dig deep to analyze shopper demand and deliver merchandise at a local level, and in 2004 he joined the company as executive VP, operations. Willett is credited with spearheading Best Buy’s supply chain transition—today, its ability to forecast demand and replenish merchandise based on individual-store demographics are among the best in retail.
Currently, Willett is also helping Best Buy drive its consumer-centric strategy on an international scale. As CEO of Best Buy International, he oversees an expanding portfolio, which includes stores in China, as well as upcoming moves into Mexico and Turkey.