Best Buy Appoints New Exec. To Lead Geek Squad

Best Buy Appoints New Exec. To Lead Geek Squad

Chris Askew now oversees Best Buy’s Geek Squad and reports to CEO Hubert Joly.

Best Buy Company, Inc., recently appointed a new leader to oversee its tech services business, which is best known as Geek Squad.

The Richfield-based retailer appointed Chris Askew president of services, a company spokeswoman confirmed Thursday. Askew started his new position on July 15, and he most recently served as a senior vice president at NCR Services, a Georgia-based technology company that reported $5.7 billion in 2012 revenue.

Askew reports directly to Hubert Joly, who took the reins as CEO in September. Askew replaces Best Buy’s former Senior Vice President of Services George Sherman, who left the company earlier this year.

“Chris Askew’s appointment shows the importance of the Geek Squad to our overall Renew Blue transformation,” the company said in an e-mailed statement to Twin Cities Business. “Renew Blue” is the name given to Joly’s turnaround plan for the company.

“Our more than 20,000 Geek Squad agents represent a unique competitive advantage for Best Buy,” the company continued. “Chris has proven throughout his career in the technology services field that he can manage large, complex organizations, and we are delighted to have him join the company as president of services.”

Joly’s turnaround plan has involved a number of cost-cutting initiatives. Earlier this year, the company sold its 50 percent stake in Best Buy Europe. Best Buy swung to a loss during its latest fiscal quarter, although its stock has been climbing this year amid positive input from analysts.

Sherman, the former leader of Best Buy’s Geek Squad left to become president of Advance Auto Parts, Inc., in April. He was one several Best Buy leaders to depart the company in the past year or so. Robert Stephens, founder of The Geek Squad, stepped down from his role as Best Buy’s chief technology officer last year.

A Thursday report by the Wall Street Journal pointed out that the Geek Squad, which provides technical support to customers, was once a key offering that set Best Buy apart from competitors. But weak demand for televisions and personal computers have been among the factors that have made the performance of Best Buy’s services division choppy lately.

Best Buy last year reportedly took steps to revamp Geek Squad, cutting 600 Geek Squad workers but planning to hire hundreds more in an attempt to shift focus to services for small businesses and more technology expertise.

Best Buy is Minnesota’s third-largest public company based on revenue. Shares of its stock were trading up about 1.3 percent at $29.71 mid-day Thursday.