Former Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson Resigns from General Mills, Three Other Boards
In the wake of a political and racial-based controversy, former Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson has taken a step back and resigned as a board member at several Minnesota companies.
Backlash hit Anderson last week when it was revealed he – along with Best Buy founder Richard Schulze – donated $25,000 in 2016 to a right-wing group tied to anti-Muslim campaigns.
The initial report from watchdog organization The Center for Responsive Politics said the right-wing group, Secure America Now, ran ads aimed at stoking fears of Muslims just before the U.S. presidential election.
Shortly after Anderson’s donation was publicized, Minnesota Public Radio reported that he stepped down from the Mayo Clinic board of trustees. Resignations this week from the boards of General Mills, MPR, Waste Management Inc. and travel company Carlson marks a total of five businesses he’s stepped away from since the news broke.
A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Anderson resigned from General Mills effective April 9, but it provided no additional information. MPR noted that a similar filing was made regarding his resignation from the Waste Management board, and on Tuesday, both MPR and Carlson confirmed his departure from their boards.
Neither General Mills, Carlson or Waste Management have commented further on the situation. However, David Murphy, chair of the MPR board on which Anderson served since 2003, said in a prepared statement that they are sad to see Anderson go, and that they did not request his resignation.
Murphy expressed gratitude for Anderson’s contribution to MPR but did also note that MPR and its parent company, APMG, “share a commitment to the values of respect, diversity and inclusion of all people.”
Both Best Buy and the Mayo Clinic previously denounced the actions of Secure America now.
Best Buy touted values of diversity and religious tolerance, as reported by the Star Tribune, and the Mayo Clinic shared similar sentiments Thursday, stating “Mayo's long history and reputation have been built on a foundation of respect for the well-being of people of all religions, races and nationalities. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion are tremendous strengths of our organization.”
Mayo condemned the right-wing group’s ads but declined to comment further on Anderson himself, as they were “only recently made aware” of the story and felt a need to look into things further.
Anderson said last week that he did not know of Secure America Now’s inflammatory videos – produced to depict a world where Syrian refugees have overtaken America – which are at the heart of the controversy. He said he only donated to the organization based on its interest in the security of Israel.
Anderson’s resignations come after he said last week that calls for him to step down did “not fit the circumstances,” but that he would “honor whatever the companies and boards” he served on wanted.