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Best Buy hires Carlson chief Joly as new CEO

Two major Minnesota-based corporations did a little staff shuffling at the top this weekend.

Hubert Joly, the French-born businessman who was the first non-family member to run the Carlson Companies, is leaving the Minnetonka-based travel and hospitality giant after four years and reportedly will take the top job at Best Buy Co., the Star Tribune reports. During emergency meetings over the weekend, Carlson’s board selected chief financial officer Trudy Rautio, a 15-year Carlson executive, to be the company’s next president and chief executive officer, the newspaper says.

Best Buy’s naming of the Carlson chief Joly is likely to be the first of several disclosures the company plans to make to assure investors that the struggling electronics retailer can turn around its fortunes on its own, the New York Times reports.

The news broke in the Wall Street Journal.

Joly will succeed Mike Mikan, who has served as interim CEO since April when former CEO Brian Dunn abruptly stepped down amid an internal investigation into a relationship with a female employee.

The company investigation found Dunn did not misuse Best Buy resources, but it did find him guilty of extremely poor judgment and unprofessional conduct. The investigation also found that Best Buy founder and chairman Richard Schulze knew about about Dunn’s close personal relationship with a female employee and failed to report it to the board.

Schulze abruptly stepped down from the board of directors in June to explore options for his 20.1 percent ownership stake — the company’s largest shareholder. Schulze is also talking with potential buyout partners as he considers taking the beleaguered Richfield-based electronics retailer private.

The Star Tribune reports Schulze rejected a proposal from the company’s board of directors over the weekend. Best Buy says it offered to show Schulze the company’s financial data in exchange for delaying any takeover attempt until 2013, should the board reject his bid.

“I am disappointed and surprised by the Best Buy board’s abrupt termination of our discussions,” Schulze said in a statement released early on Monday.

Schulze also issued a statement in response to Best Buy’s announcement that it has named Hubert Joly as president and chief executive officer on Monday.

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April 24, 2014