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Best Buy Executive Moves Advance Its International Ambitions

While executive moves at Best Buy are topped by the appointment of a new chief information officer, what the electronics retailer really is doing with the leadership reshuffle is strengthening its international division.

As is the case in the United States, the company has slowed the pace of international expansion, particularly as regards its namesake Best Buy stores in Canada and China, as a response to the recession. However, international operations remain critical to the retailer. For example, it expanded its European joint venture Carphone Warehouse to Mexico recently, and it plans to continue that division's global expansion. Additionally, Best Buy executives have said they would focus international development as much or more on sharing best practices as adding stores as the company seeks to make its various operations more efficient and more effective at serving customers worldwide.

Best Buy promoted Neville Roberts to the CIO post that had been held by Robert Willett, CEO of Best Buy International. Roberts post encompasses both domestic and international Best Buy divisions, and he will continue reporting to Willett. Before joining Best Buy in 2008, Roberts was a senior partner in Accenture's global retail practice where he worked for clients including Wal-Mart International, WHSmith and Tesco.

Additionally, Best Buy named Scott Wheway, chief operating officer of Best Buy International, reporting to Willett. He has Tesco experience, too, spending 20 years there working his way up from the sales floor to positions including operations director. He also served as managing director of Boots the Chemist, the leading health and beauty chain in the United Kingdom.

Sean Skelley takes on the job of president, International Retail Operations, a newly created position reporting to Wheway. Previously, as senior vice president of Best Buy's services business group, Skelley helped develop a global services strategy, and as vice president, director of Best Buy services, he led the company's acquisition of Geek Squad, which offers 24 hour computer services, and directed its roll out into Best Buy stores across the United States and Canada.

So, Best Buy has strengthened and more better defined its international executive leadership, which is a clear statement of the company's determination to achieve its goals of global expertise sharing and international expansion.

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