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Best Buy names Carlson's Hubert Joly as its new CEO

Best Buy has named Carlson executive Hubert Joly as its new president and chief executive, hoping to profit from his expertise in revitalizing companies as the electronics retailer struggles in the face of stiff online competition.

The world’s largest consumer electronics chain said Joly, who was born and raised in France, will take up his new role in early September when he is expected to secure a visa.

Joly is the former CEO of Carlson, a global hospitality and travel company based in Minneapolis, Minn. He will replace Mike Mikan at Best Buy, who has served as interim CEO for the retailer since April.

Best Buy is currently engaged in a takeover fight with its founder and former chairman. Richard Schulze has offered to buy the struggling electronics retailer and take it private in a deal that values the company at more than $8.1 billion.

Best Buy said it offered Schulze an opportunity to conduct due diligence on the company to pursue his plan to acquire outstanding shares in the company on Friday, but Schulze declined the offer.

Schulze, 71, stepped down from the company after an internal probe found he failed to tell the retailer’s board about allegations that former chief executive Brian Dunn was having an inappropriate relationship with a 29-year-old female subordinate.

Dunn, who resigned in April, “violated company policy by engaging in an extremely close personal relationship with a female employee that negatively impacted the work environment,” according to an internal investigation by the retailer’s audit committee.

Best Buy has struggled in recent years as customers have migrated to Apple and online retailers such as Amazon.com. The retailer is expected to report results for its most recent quarter on Tuesday. It has posted sales declines in seven of the last eight quarters.

Joly led the restructuring and growth of Vivendi’s video game’s business -- now part of Activision Blizzard -- from 1999 to 2001. He also drove the turnaround of technology company EDS, which is now part of Hewlett Packard, in France from 1996 to 1999, Best Buy said.

“Hubert was an outstanding candidate for this position and I am confident he will be a great fit for Best Buy,” said Hatim Tyabji, chairman of the Best Buy Board, in a statement.

“Hubert’s range and depth of experience in transforming companies is exactly what the company needs at the moment, as is his energetic, imaginative and experienced leadership in executing strategies,” he added.

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