OPERATIONS

Founder Schulze returns to Best Buy as chairman emeritus

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — Shortly after abandoning buyout possibilities of his former company, Best Buy co-founder and former chairman Richard Schulze announced Monday that he is returning to the retailer as chairman emeritus.

Schulze, who is Best Buy’s largest shareholder, is nominating two former Best Buy executives to join him on the board: former CEO Brad Anderson and former COO Al Lenzmeier.

"My dedication to the company that I founded and love is unwavering and, together with [current CEO Hubert Joly] and the board, I determined that the best way to support Best Buy would be to return in support of the initiatives underway,” said Shulze. "At the same time, it is a great privilege to nominate to the board two long-time colleagues, Brad Anderson and Al Lenzmeier, who helped build Best Buy into what it is today and will continue adding great value in their new role."

Schulze resigned as chairman last May and left the board in June after Best Buy’s internal investigation uncovered that he was aware of then-CEO Brian Dunn’s relationship with a female staffer.

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OPERATIONS

Limited Brands temporarily changes name to L Brands

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — A Monday report by Reuters said that Limited Brands has temporarily changed its name to L Brands Inc. The report cited a Friday regulatory filing.

The operator of Victoria’s Secret and Henri Bendel is implementing a pre-planned transition process that was required after the 2010 sale of Limited Stores, LLC.

The company is expected to announce a new permanent name in the coming months.

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OPERATIONS

Starbucks CEO defends company’s same-sex marriage stance

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Howard Schultz, founder and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, has never been one to shy away from taking a stand. Last week, at the chain’s annual meeting of shareholders in Seattle, one shareholder questioned Schultz over the company’s support of same-sex marriage, including the same-sex marriage referendum in the state of Washington.

Shareholder Tom Strobhar, who is a founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center, made his displeasure known regarding Starbucks’ support for marriage equality, claiming that a resulting boycott had affected Starbucks’ bottom line.

“In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” said Strobhar.

Schultz explained that the company’s support of same-sex marriage had nothing to do with economics but instead was about respecting diversity.

"It is not an economic decision," Schultz said. "The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity."

Schultz made it clear he had little patience with Strobar’s claim that the company had suffered for its views. And he offered the stockholder an easy way out.

“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much,” Schultz said.

His comments prompted cheers and applause from the audience.

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