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Best Buy Shuffles Executives

17 Jan, 2012 By: Thomas K. Arnold, Erik Gruenwedel

Best Buy Co. has announced two key leadership changes, including putting longtime executive Mike Vitelli in charge of the consumer electronics chain’s U.S. business.

Previously, Vitelli shared the role of president of the No. 1 consumer electronics retailer’s domestic business with Shari Ballard, who, after the changes, oversees Best Buy’s international business. The two also had additional responsibilities for operations in Canada and Mexico, duties that now remain only with Ballard.

The reorganization comes after Minneapolis, Minn.-based Best Buy reported December sales below expectations, despite aggressive discounting and shipping guarantees. The latter proved a PR nightmare when a third-party fulfillment company was unable to ship all online purchases in time for Christmas. Indeed, sales of $8.4 billion in December were flat from the same period in 2010.

As EVP and president of Best Buy U.S., Vitelli assumes full responsibility for the company's domestic business groups and channels. He will focus on creating a “seamless customer experience across all channels, accelerating operational enhancements that will grow higher margin sales of connections and services and continuing to unlock opportunities to drive improved returns for the company and its shareholders,” according to the company.

"Mike has a unique ability to create clarity and drive alignment on complex issues, which will serve him well as he brings a sharp, end-to-end focus in our U.S. business, helping the teams move from strategy through execution with greater clarity and speed," said Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn.

Vitelli had been enterprise EVP and president of Americas since March 2010. He joined Best Buy in March 2004 as SVP of consumer electronics and product management after a 23-year career at Sony Electronics.

In Ballard’s new role as EVP and president of Best Buy International, she has responsibility for the company's businesses in China, Canada and Mexico. She also oversees management of the company’s interests in Best Buy Europe. 

"Shari's wide range of Best Buy experiences has enabled her to develop a deep understanding of Best Buy's culture, how we operate at scale and the critical importance of balancing customer, employee and financial success," Dunn said.

Ballard has been with Best Buy since 1993, having joined the chain as an assistant store manager. In 1997, she implemented a new operating model across hundreds of Best Buy stores. She later held senior leadership roles in human resources and legal before assuming oversight of the U.S. entertainment operating group in 2007.

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