Best Buy Names Sharon McCollam CFO

Best Buy Names Sharon McCollam CFO

Best Buy, which has been restructuring its leadership team under CEO Hubert Joly, said that former Williams-Sonoma Chief Financial Officer Sharon McCollam will succeed outgoing CFO James Muehlbauer.

Richfield-based Best Buy Company, Inc., on Monday announced that Sharon McCollam will join the company on December 10 as chief financial officer (CFO) and chief administrative officer—marking the latest in a series of recent executive changes at the struggling electronics retailer.

McCollam previously served as director, executive vice president, chief operating officer, and CFO of Williams-Sonoma, Inc., a San Francisco-based multi-channel retailer that operates its namesake home merchandise brand as well as Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Rejuvenation. She left Williams-Sonoma earlier this year after serving as an executive officer at the company for more than a decade.

McCollam will succeed James Muehlbauer, who joined Best Buy a decade ago and has served as CFO since 2008. Best Buy said last month that Muehlbauer planned to retire. Per Best Buy’s previously announced transition plans, Muehlbauer will exit the CFO role when McCollam takes over the position but stay on with the company through its 2013 fiscal year, which concludes February 3, to help facilitate a smooth transition.

Best Buy said that McCollam “will influence and shape all aspects of Best Buy’s operations and transformation strategy.” She will be responsible for the company’s global finance, strategic planning, and corporate development, as well as the oversight of Best Buy’s real estate portfolio.

McCollam is the latest executive to be appointed to Best Buy’s leadership team since President and CEO Hubert Joly took the reins in September. For example, the company recently hired Scott Durchslag—former president of online travel agency Expedia Worldwide—as senior vice president and president of online and global e-commerce.

In late October, the company said that two of its executives were “being removed”: Mike Vitelli, president of Best Buy’s U.S. operations, and Tim Sheehan, executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

Shawn Score was subsequently appointed to lead the company’s U.S. retail channel, and McCollam will assume the chief administrative officer role.

The Star Tribune reported that McCollam’s appointment to Best Buy’s leadership team will likely please investors; in fact, she was reportedly mentioned by several analysts as a possible candidate to lead Best Buy after Brian Dunn resigned in April. The company’s stock price closed up 3.6 percent on Monday at $15.85.

“Anyone who has spent time working to turn a company around knows that few things matter more than having a world-class CFO who also has deep operational experience; Sharon is just that person,” Joly said in a statement. “During her dozen years with Williams-Sonoma, she exercised a level of operational and financial discipline that made that company the envy of the retail world. Her in-depth understanding of retail and e-commerce makes her an instantly powerful contributor to our transformation initiatives.”

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, McCollam is well regarded for her role in scaling back Williams-Sonoma’s store base after it expanded too rapidly prior to the recession. She also gained extensive online-retailing experience at Williams-Sonoma, which in its last fiscal year derived 38 percent of its revenue from e-commerce, the newspaper reported.

Best Buy’s announcement about McCollam, as well as Joly’s larger executive restructuring, comes at a time when founder Richard Schulze is putting together a bid to take the company private.

The Star Tribune recently reported that a bid could come as early as this week, although Reuters reported that Schulze’s offer is likely to come in December, and it may be below the previously expected $8 billion range, as the company’s stock price has fallen significantly since Schulze first announced plans to attempt a takeover.