Brad Anderson and Al Lenzmeier have officially rejoined the board of directors at Best Buy Co.
But what exactly will they be doing?
A closer read of the company’s recent proxy statement gives an important clue: the two ex-Best Buy executives will both serve on the Finance and Investment Policy committee.
According to the proxy statement, the committee “advises the Board regarding our financial policies and financial condition to help enable us to achieve our long-range goals. It evaluates and monitors the: (i) protection and safety of our cash and investments; (ii) achievement of reasonable returns on financial assets within acceptable risk tolerance; (iii) maintenance of adequate liquidity to support our activities; (iv) assessment of the cost and availability of capital; and (v) alignment of our strategic goals and financial resources.”
That’s a lot of fancy corporate speak. But in a nutshell, this committee will oversee deal making at Best Buy, whether it’s selling something or buying something.
Best Buy declined to comment.
It’s no accident that Anderson and Lenzmeier belong to this committee. The two directors represent the company’s largest investor and founder Richard Schulze.
Schulze, you may remember, tried to take the company private but ultimately gave up and rejoined Best Buy as chairman emeritus.
Should Schulze consider using his 20 percent stake to attempt another deal in the future, Anderson and Lenzmeier could supply Schulze with valuable intelligence.
Anderson “is as much there to keep on an eye on what’s going on in there for Dick,” said David Strasser, an analyst with Janney Capital Management. “There are not a lot of issues but that could change in about a year.”
That’s because Best Buy still faces a precarious situation. Though the company seems to have stabilized its core business, some investors wonder if Best Buy can consistently string together several quarters of growth in sales at stores open for at least a year.
A sudden downturn in Best Buy’s performance could pressure the nascent alliance between Schulze and CEO Hubert Joly.
In addition, the committee would also evaluate any proposal to sell Best Buy assets. For example, many analysts expect Joly to eventually dissolve Best Buy’s joint venture with Carphone Warehouse in Europe and find a buyer for its Five Star operation in China.
And should Best Buy tried to sell anything else off, say leases to any of the 1,000 big box stores in North America, Schulze, through Anderson and Lenzmeier, will no doubt have a say in that.