Best Buy hires hotel chief as new CEO in attempt to rescue its fading business

With sales slipping and amid a flurry of store closings, Best Buy has finally found the time to hire a new CEO: Hubert Joly, the former head of restaurant and hospitality conglomerate Carlson Companies.

Yes, you read that right: Best Buy has hired a hotel guy to run its technology retail business.

The company, however, didn’t nab the Frenchman for his hospitality skills. Instead, Best Buy says that it hired Joly because he has firsthand knowledge of turning around declining companies. Before to his days at Carlson, Joly ran Vivendi Universal and IT company Electronic Data Systems, which is now owned by HP.

Above: New Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly

Still, it’s possible that Hubert’s experience with hospitality will come in handy. After all, Best Buy’s biggest strength over competitors like Amazon is its retail stores, and chances are good that Joly could help the company revitalize its retail experience to draw in more customers.

Best Buy hasn’t been shy about pointing out the finer points of Joly’s resume.

“Hubert’s range and depth of experience in transforming companies is exactly what the company needs at the moment, as is his energetic, imaginative, and experienced leadership in executing strategies,” Best Buy board chairman Hatim Tyabji said in a statement.

In other words, Best Buy needs someone who’s good at rescuing companies from the brink of destruction, and Joly is just the kind of guy they were looking for. He’s expected to start in September, once he gets his visa.

Joly’s appointment comes two weeks after former Best Buy CEO Richard Schulze announced plans to take the company private. Schulze’s efforts are ongoing and will be interesting to watch how the new Best Buy CEO handles the dicey situation.

As for Best Buy’s investors, they haven’t been too keen on the news. As of the time of writing, Best Buy’s stock price dropped nearly seven percent to $18.90

Best Buy photo: socialwoodlands/Flickr