UnitedHealth vet Mikan asked to steady Best Buy

  • Article by: DAVID PHELPS and JANET MOORE , Star Tribune s taff w riters
  • Updated: April 12, 2012 - 8:43 PM

Though he brings financial bona fides as the company's interim CEO, analysts don't see him in the job permanently.

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suzukisvApr. 10, 1211:19 PM

OK, now with a health insurance boss at the helm, you'll never know the price until 3 months after you bought something and there will be a fee for walking into the store.

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research2dayApr. 11, 12 7:29 AM

He hasn't any retail experience, he's a 'finance' person, and he didn't produce on starting an investment group. Where's the sense in that assignment; even temporarily?

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rickbmnApr. 11, 12 8:07 AM

So now we'll get the poor ethics and perpetual UHG runaround as Best Buy consumers??? Perfect time for a start-up to get into the market. Anyone wanna chip in and get started? BB will be gone in 5 years...or as soon as the next entrepeneur with financial backing launches. Remember that BB was a little start-up many years ago, and the guy (Schulze) who started it (under a different name), ran the company. It flourished because he had personal ties to the company. Dunn and now Mikan are there for the big bucks.. they don't have the sweat equity. Too bad. Once upon a time, I really enjoyed going to BB. I could spend hours there just looking. My "Silver Rewards" card is really meaningless...

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jafblumpkinApr. 11, 12 1:10 PM

I suspect that enormous corporate headquarters in Richfield will be a ghost town in less than 3 years.

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rtown1313Apr. 11, 12 7:46 PM

Mikan has reached CEO level mostly based on his name. I don't blame him for riding his name to make money, however, as a "financial" guy, he has no success stories, or failures for that matter, that justifies his climb in the corporate world.------So I must agree, if Best Buy is in the business of hiring CEO's on name recognition instead of job performance, this once incredibly innovative company, that stayed on top of the curve, has, in my estimate, very little chance of re-orging yet again to stay viable.

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fentanylApr. 12, 12 6:09 AM

updated WSJ stats: BB makes $ 18.52 per square foot of retail space while Apple makes $4700.00. It would appear the BB Board has been asleep at the wheel!!!

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gjacobApr. 12, 1210:25 AM

I have a feeling the peter principle was in play at Optum. Every employee tends to rise to his level of his incompetence.

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joemamaswApr. 12, 12 3:15 PM

@rtown1313 - Mikan reached CEO level based on his name? That's total BS. At UHG he worked hard while making a name from himself in the Mergers and Aquisitions - UHG got as large as it has due in part to the efforts of Mikan. Mikan worked at Arthur Andersen before joining UHG in 1998. UnitedHealth Group grew its revenue from $17 billion to nearly $90 billion -- in part because of Mikan's work as the head of M&A, in which he led over 100 transactions. When UnitedHealth got hit with options-backdating charges in 2006, the company cleaned house and installed Mikan as its new CFO. The people at UHG know talent when they see it and Mikan moved up the ladder due to hard work and his ability to lead. Now he didn't accomplish these things on his own he lead a team of people - which means he can develop a vision - get a buy in from all stake holders "C" level on down - then lead and manage a team to fulfill that vision. Now is Mikan the man to lead BB over the next few years? No. BB was clear they are looking into hiring someone other than Mikan with online retailing experience. @fentanyl - going into Apple vs. BB is per sq ft value isn't fair. Apple competes with it's own product and simply does not discount to anyone - and limits the retailers who sell their product with to a handful. BB competes with NewEgg, Walmart and Amazon et al. Each competitor has different business model. As it has been said BB needs to find the proper mix of online and retail. The Big Box retail business is dying- Best Buy needs to find the balance and continue to make changes to that balance as the market shifts. They need to get lean - automate processes and streamline all aspects of their business model. Mikan is a finance guy - asked to step up from the Best Buy board (he's been on the board since 2008 so he's not completely in the dark on how things work in the Richfield HQ) to settle down the troops and keep Wall Street happy until the new CEO can be found. If I was sitting in a cube at 7601 Penn Avenue South I would be dusting off my resume and working LinkedIn. Sad to say but the cuts could be deep and quick.

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