retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Interesting story in Minnesota's Star Tribune about Best Buy's leadership team - which is now, for the first time, is dominated by women.

The story details the development this way:

"Best Buy reached the turning point last month when Trish Walker was hired from Accenture to become its president of services, including the Geek Squad. With her hiring, six of the 10 executives who report to chief executive Hubert Joly are women.

"The other newest members of Best Buy’s C-Suite are Paula Baker, a longtime Best Buy employee who was promoted to be the human resources chief in March, and Corie Barry, who was elevated to chief strategy officer last year. They join Shari Ballard, a longtime Best Buy executive who oversees U.S. stores; Sharon McCollam, a former Williams-Sonoma executive whom Joly hired in 2012 as chief financial officer; and Mary Lou Kelley, who came to Best Buy in 2014 from Chico’s to lead e-commerce."

While Best Buy says it has been committed to gender diversity, it also says that its bottom line commitment has been to identifying the best talent. And Nicholas Pearce, a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, tells the paper that not only does gender diversity provide "role models for girls and young women, but research has suggested it also leads to better business outcomes and higher innovation."

The fact that this is taking place at Best Buy is interesting, since technology-oriented chains traditionally have been seen as male-dominated venues. That said, companies like Best Buy - significantly challenged by online stores such as Amazon - have to broaden their appeal if they are to survive.

However, the story also notes that diversity only goes so far; while a lot of companies are hiring more women for leadership positions, race remains a problem area: "On Best Buy’s 11-person executive team, only one is a person of color."

It all is an Eye-Opener.
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