Robert Stephens

Chief technology officer, Best Buy Company
Robert Stephens

• Bringing more tech to the store floor

When Robert Stephens sold Geek Squad to Best Buy in 2002, he figured he’d learn all he could for a couple of years, then move on. Almost 10 years later, he’s still at Best Buy, and still learning. “I thought big companies had it all figured out,” Stephens says. Start-ups dream about being big

and global, while large companies seek to become more nimble and innovative.

Stephens was named Best Buy’s chief technology officer last summer. He’s charged with staying ahead of new technology trends and inspiring leadership at the electronic retailing giant to think differently about how the company might use them. Stephens is assembling a team of programmers to prototype software ideas in weeks instead of months. And he’s pushing an idea that he hopes will be his next legacy: a tablet or mobile device in the hands of every Blue Shirt store employee, forming what he calls a “human search engine.”