Executive in charge of China becomes latest to leave Best Buy

  • Article by: THOMAS LEE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 4, 2012 - 9:15 PM

As president of Asia region, Dave Deno oversaw Best Buy's expansion into China.

Another top Best Buy Co. Inc. executive has left the troubled retailer.

Dave Deno, chief financial officer of Best Buy's international division and president of its Asia region, recently joined OSI Restaurant Partners as its executive vice president and CFO, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

OSI is best known as the parent of the Outback Steakhouse chain. Best Buy confirmed Deno's departure late Friday.

"David Deno was recently approached about a significant outside opportunity, and has decided to leave Best Buy," spokesman Greg Hitt said in an e-mailed statement. "We are grateful for Dave's many contributions as we have worked to build and improve our international business. We wish him the very best in his new role. For now, Dave's responsibilities will be covered by existing leaders in the company."

Deno is fourth high-ranking executive to leave the company in recent weeks and the second one this week. On Wednesday, Best Buy confirmed that Barry Judge, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, resigned "to explore the next chapter of his career."

In March, Best Buy said Geek Squad founder and Chief Technology Officer Robert Stephens left the company to pursue opportunities in Silicon Valley. And last month, CEO Brian Dunn abruptly resigned; the board of directors is investigating whether Dunn used company resources to pursue an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer.

Best Buy officials say Judge's and Deno's exits are not connected to the probe.

The resignation of Deno, a respected executive, is a particular blow to the company. As president of the Asia region, Deno oversaw the retailer's fast-growing presence in China.

Best Buy recently announced that it will speed the rollout of its Five Star stores in China. The company hopes to open 400 to 500 stores and generate $4 billion in sales by 2016. It also plans to test Best Buy Mobile formats within 14 of those stores.

Prior to joining Best Buy in 2009, Deno worked in private equity and spent 15 years with PepsiCo and its restaurant spin-off, Yum Brands Inc. He served as CFO for Pizza Hut and chief operating officer for Quiznos.

"David is a seasoned global executive with extensive finance, operations and business development experience and will be an excellent addition to the executive leadership team," OSI CEO Liz Smith said in a statement. "We're committed to expanding our world-class team to accelerate our long-term growth strategy. David's background and experience will be invaluable in that process."

Thomas Lee • 612-673-4113

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