Hubert Joly officially bid adieu as Best Buy Co. Inc.'s chief executive Tuesday morning in a brief webcast of the annual shareholders meeting.
Joly moves into a newly created role as executive chairman of the board. His hand-picked successor, Corie Barry, a 20-year veteran of the Richfield-based company, officially assumed the role as CEO at the conclusion of the meeting.
Joly, a native of France and the first outsider to lead the company, said the "evolution of leadership" will maintain company momentum and ensure that the strategy he helped to craft will continue.
"I will pass the baton of leadership to Corie Barry," he said at the end of the 20-minute meeting, "and warmly welcome her into her role as CEO."
After seven years at the nation's largest consumer electronics retailer and Minnesota's third-largest publicly traded company, Joly underscored that he had achieved what he set out to do when he joined the company in 2012.
Joly has revitalized the bottom line, improved relationships with vendors and turned the company toward new areas of growth in technology support services as well as health and aging. Comparable sales have grown for five consecutive years.
"Working together, we turned around and then grew this wonderful company, and it has been the honor of my professional lifetime to work with all of you," Joly wrote in a letter to shareholders.
Barry, 44, is the fifth CEO in Best Buy history and one of three women now leading Minnesota Fortune 500 companies. The others are Beth Ford at Land O'Lakes and Thrivent's Terry Rasmussen.
With Barry joining the board of directors, the gender balance tips to seven women and six men.
Joly and Barry marked the occasion in an employee meeting at headquarters Tuesday afternoon, which they called "a moving day celebration," as the two are trading offices.
Barry was named CEO in mid-April and has served as Best Buy's chief financial officer since May 2016. Joly gave her an additional role as strategic transformational officer in fall 2017 as a way for the executive team to signal the end of the turnaround effort. A native of Cambridge, Minn., and graduate of the College of St. Benedict, Barry took her first job at the retailer in 1999 as a financial analyst in services.
It now falls to Barry to carry out the next phase of what the company calls "Best Buy 2020: Building the New Blue," which she helped to craft. A key part of the strategy is focused on building long-term relationships with customers through the company's services, such as Total Tech Support, in-home technology consultations and a suite of phones and home monitoring devices for older adults sold through newly acquired GreatCall.
Employees and investors shouldn't expect to see much of a change in course or style, she said.
"Having been a member of the management team for four years, it doesn't feel like I am distinctly taking off one hat and putting on another," Barry said in an interview Monday.
"Yes, this particular role feels a little bit weightier because the buck ultimately stops with you," she added. "But I have always tried to live and work at this company in a way that showcases just how responsible I've felt for its performance."