updated 08:45 pm EDT, Thu April 12, 2012
Best Buy CEO may have left over affair
The sudden resignation of Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn may have been prompted by conditions with some similarity to those that forced HP chief Mark Hurd out in 2010. Tips to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday explained that the probe was over Dunn possibly misusing company resources for a "relationship" with a 29-year-old woman working at a Best Buy leadership training facility. The board took action after it got complaints, although it's not known who relayed the information.
The circumstances are believed to be more innocuous than in the Hurd case, where the executive was actively using expenses to hide attempts to pursue contractor Jodie Fisher. The so far unnamed woman has said that the complaints stemmed from "something small that people blew out of proportion."
Best Buy has so far said it won't provide more details until the probe is over. Two laywers from Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, including a former SEC commissioner are thought part of the investigation.
The circumstances surrounding the resignation have still raised suspicions. At first, Best Buy only claimed it was a "mutual" decision between Dunn and the board, implying more a competitive problem. Later, it hinted at "personal conduct" being to blame, a euphemism for a potential scandal. Companies rarely have grounds to push executives out over strictly personal issues and usually get involved only when concerns of misused finances or nepotism come into play.