Another Best Buy Exec Exits; Restructuring Hurts Profits

Ryan Robinson, chief financial officer of Best Buy’s U.S. operations, is the latest top-ranking official to leave the company, which on Tuesday reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue and adjusted earnings.

Yet another member of Best Buy Company’s executive team is leaving.

Ryan Robinson, chief financial officer (CFO) for Best Buy’s U.S. operations, will leave the Richfield-based electronics retailer on Friday to become CFO of MedExpress, a West Virginia-based operator of urgent care centers, Best Buy spokesman Bruce Hight said Tuesday.

Robinson is Best Buy’s second highest-ranking financial officer, below Executive Vice President and CFO Jim Muehlbauer. Hight said the company will now begin the process of finding Robinson’s replacement.

Robinson is the latest in a series of top-ranking officials who have left Best Buy: In March, Robert Stephens, founder of The Geek Squad, stepped down from his role as chief technology officer. In early May, news surfaced that Chief Marketing Officer Barry Judge left the company. Then Dave Deno—who served as CFO of Best Buy’s international division and president of its Asia region—subsequently departed the company to become executive vice president and CFO of OSI Restaurant Partners.

In addition, CEO Brian Dunn resigned in April amid an investigation into allegations that he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a female employee—allegations that were later confirmed by a law firm hired by Best Buy. In the wake of that investigation, the company announced that founder Richard Schulze will step down in June from his role as chairman.

Best Buy on Tuesday reported its first quarterly financial results since Dunn’s departure. Earnings totaled $158 million, or 46 cents per share, down roughly 25 percent from $212 million, or 53 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding restructuring costs, however, the company said earnings from continuing operations totaled $246 million, or 72 cents per share, beating analysts’ expectations of 59 cents per share.

Revenue for the quarter that ended May 5 totaled $11.6 billion, up 2 percent from the first quarter of last year, which included one fewer week. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company’s revenue to total $11.52 billion.

Same-store sales—sales at stores open at least a year and an industry barometer—fell 5.3 percent during the quarter, representing a larger decline than the 3 percent drop during the first quarter of last year. That was driven in large part by a 10.5 percent decline in international same-store sales.

“Best Buy is in a turnaround, and the strategic priorities we laid out at the beginning of the year are just the first phase of the changes to come,” interim CEO Mike Mikan said in a statement. “We know we have to better adapt to the new realities of the marketplace, and we are creating a long-term plan designed to make Best Buy more relevant with customers and position the company for sustained, profitable returns in the years ahead.”

Mikan said first-quarter results were in line with the company’s expectations, and Best Buy reaffirmed its full-year earnings outlook of $3.50 to $3.80 per share. The company’s stock was trading up about 2.7 percent late Tuesday morning at $18.66.

Best Buy is Minnesota’s third-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $50.7 billion for the fiscal year that ended on March 3.

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