Best Buy cleans house in aftermath of scandal, sends founder to retirement

Former Best Buy CEO Brian DunnIt’s not a good week to be the head of a publicly-traded company — if you like playing fast and loose with the rules, that is.

The same weekend that Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson resigned after a false claim on his résumé, Best Buy announced that it would be replacing its founder and chairman, Richard Schulze. Schulze’s departure follows the April news that former Best Buy chief executive Brian Dunn had resigned.

In Schulze’s place, Hatjim Tyabji, currently a board director, will become chairman of the company. Schulze will retain the purely honorary title “Founder and Chairman Emeritus,” according to a Best Buy press release.

Schulze was brought down by a scandal involving Dunn. An independent investigation by the Best Buy board found, according to the press release, that:

  • Dunn violated Best Buy policy by “engaging in an extremely close personal relationship with a female employee that negatively impacted the work environment.”
  • Dunn’s relationship “demonstrated extremely poor judgment and a lack of professionalism.”
  • Schulze should have brought the affair to the board when he first heard about it.

However, the company added, “the inquiry revealed no misuse of Company resources. The inquiry also revealed no misuse of aircraft.” (Thank goodness, because we all know how naughty it is to misuse the corporate jet.)

According to a WSJ report, both Dunn and the female employee said their relationship wasn’t a romantic one, but it was remarkably close, with the two sharing hundreds of messages via phone, many private meetings, and tickets to seven sporting events and concerts. The investigation found that the relationship did damage employee morale by giving the impression that different rules applied to the CEO than to other employees.

The company detailed that Dunn would be receiving about $6.6 million in stock, bonus money, and severance as part of his departure package from the company.

Tyabji is a longtime board member for Best Buy and other companies, and was chairman, president, and CEO of VeriFone from 1986 to 1998.

Brian Dunn’s LinkedIn page lists him as the “former CEO of Best Buy” and notes that he’s interested in consulting offers, new ventures, business deals, and job inquiries, among other things.

Photo credit: Profile page for Brian Dunn/LinkedIn