* Mikan served as interim CEO during time of turmoil
* Paull's resignation expected
By Greg Roumeliotis
Dec 31 Best Buy Co Inc said on Monday
that two of its board directors had resigned, including one of
its former chief executives, almost seven months after its
founder, who is now mounting a bid for the struggling retailer,
left the board.
The departures will leave Best Buy with four vacancies on
its 11-member board.
The company's fortunes have faltered as consumers
increasingly use its big box stores as showrooms for products
they end up buying online at Amazon.com Inc and other
Best Buy said that G. Mike Mikan, who served as interim CEO
between April and September 2012 after former chief Brian Dunn
was found to have had an improper relationship with a female
employee, had stepped down from the board effective immediately.
Mikan left to become president of Edward Lampert's hedge
fund ESL Investments Inc. Billionaire Lampert is the chairman of
another retailer, Sears Holdings Corp, which he
controls and is embarked on a turnaround campaign.
"Mike's background fits with our strategy and he will be a
great asset to me and to ESL's portfolio companies," Lampert
said in a statement on Monday.
Mikan's main corporate stint was at UnitedHealth Group Inc
, where he spent 14 years and served as executive vice
president and chief financial officer, as well as CEO of its
Optum subsidiary. He became a Best Buy director in 2008.
Mikan was at the helm of Best Buy when Richard Schulze, its
former chairman and founder, lost his chairmanship after he was
held responsible for failing to notify the board about
allegations against his protégé Dunn. Schulze resigned as board
member in June.
In August, Schulze informed the board that he was interested
in teaming up with private equity partners to buy the company
but he has yet to table a solid offer and now faces a Feb. 28
Schulze remains Best Buy's largest shareholder with about
one-fifth of the company's outstanding shares but the company is
now led by turnaround expert Hubert Joly, who was tapped as CEO
to come up with a new restructuring plan.
The second departure announced on Monday was expected.
Matthew Paull, who had served on the board since 2008, will
retire from the board in April 2013.
Paull stepped down as CFO of McDonald's Corp in
2008. Best Buy's rules dictate that a director must retire five
years after he stops pursuing the primary career he or she was
engaged in when appointed to the board.
Neither Paull nor Mikan indicated that they were resigning
due to any disagreements with Best Buy's management, the company
The fourth vacancy on Best Buy's board dates back to June,
when Rogelio Rebolledo left to also comply with the company's