Why Best Buy Might Follow in Yahoo!'s Footsteps
In a nutshell, Gillett is already on board as a president at the company. From what I understand, he's a key ingredient in Best Buy's turnaround. It doesn't take an insider to figure this out. Just peek at Gillett's growing list of responsibilities via his LinkedIn profile :
Official duties include enterprise efforts for: Digital, Marketing, E-Commerce, Information Technology, Corporate Development, Enterprise Strategy, Store Design/Channel Experience, Enterprise Customer Care, Consumer Insights, New Ventures, Entertainment, Business Services which includes divisional Finance, HR, IT, Legal.
Officially, Best Buy calls Gillett, "President, Best Buy Digital, Global Marketing and Strategy." Sounds like a CEO to me. It would make little sense to bring in a new leader as opposed to going with one who is obviously well qualified to lead and entrenched in the turnaround process.
It would make even less sense to go the typical route and hire a 50-something, lifetime retail slave who thinks adjusting the lights, properly "merchandising" in-store and reducing the square footage of soulless big box stores will somehow thrust Best Buy into legitimate competition with Amazon.com(AMZN) .
Instead, Best Buy needs a CEO who can find creative ways to change the company's culture. It's not as much about competing with pioneers such as Amazon as it is about becoming their peers or even finding ways to partner with them.
This may or may not be significant, but executive headhunter Spencer Stuart placed Mayer at Yahoo! The firm also heads up Best Buy's ongoing CEO search. Furthermore, the man leading the Best Buy search at Spencer Stuart, Jim Citrin, also led Yahoo!'s CEO quest.
Corporate headhunters aren't all that much different from media consultants in some industries. When I worked in radio, I got most of my jobs through consultants. These people double as headhunters. You don't call them, they call you. And they essentially place you in a position.
In my experience, they get on certain kicks, so to speak. Headhunters often develop a picture in their minds of the type of person who fits a certain type of role at particular period of time.
Clearly, Citrin and Spencer Stuart -- influenced heavily by YHOO shareholder Daniel Loeb -- decided that it made sense to go the young route. They also hired a person who has never been a CEO. That said, she spent 13 years playing an instrumental role in Google's enormous success.