After 36 years with Best Buy, the company he founded, Richard Schulze has stepped down from his chairman position earlier than expected, reports CNN. Schulze, who owns a 20.1 percent stake in the struggling electronics retailer, said he plans to consider what to do with his shares.
“I continue to believe in Best Buy and its future — and care deeply about its customers, employees and shareholders,” he said in a statement. “There is an urgent need for Best Buy to reinvigorate growth by reconnecting with today’s customers and building pathways to the next generation of consumers.”
Schulze had originally planned to rescind his chairmanship on June 21, and stay on as director through June of next year, a decision he made after news surfaced that he was aware that Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn was having a relationship with another company employee. Dunn resigned in April.
Following the revelation of Dunn’s relationship, Best Buy said Dunn had “violated company policy by engaging in an extremely close personal relationship with a female employee that negatively impacted the work environment,” and “demonstrated extremely poor judgment and a lack of professionalism,” but did not use company funds inappropriately. Best Buy also said that Schulze had “acted inappropriately” by failing to reveal what he knew about Dunn’s relationship.
The Dunn scandal hit Best Buy at a weak moment. The company announced in late March that it plans to close down 50 of its “big box” stores, and open 100 mobile-only stores, which would stock only small items, with a focus on smartphones and other mobile devices. Once all 50 stores are shuttered, Best Buy will have 42 remaining big box outlets across the U.S.
Best Buy’s board of directors has named Hatim A. Tyabji, former chairman of the Best Buy audit committee and a member of the board since 1998, to replace Schulze as chairman.