NEW YORK » The founder and outgoing chairman of Best Buy announced his resignation from the board Thursday and said that he might sell off his 20.1 percent stake in the beleaguered electronics retailer.
It’s the latest news to hit the Minneapolis company facing increasing competition from online retailers and a scandal, and it removes one obstacle for a possible private equity takeover of the company. Shares fell nearly 8 percent in morning trading.
Richard Schulze, 71, had been with the company since its inception in 1966 and is its largest shareholder by far. The second-largest holder, Fidelity Management & Research Co., has a 6.9 percent stake in the company.
"There is an urgent need for Best Buy to reinvigorate growth by reconnecting with today’s customers and building pathways to the next generation of consumers," Schulze said in a statement. "Accordingly, I have shared my views with the Board and today informed them of my decision to resign as chairman and a director, effective immediately, in order to explore all available options for my ownership stake."
He initially announced in May that he would step down June 21 at the company’s annual meeting after an investigation found he knew that then-CEO Brian Dunn was having an inappropriate relationship with a female staff member. At the time he said he would remain as chairman until after the company’s annual meeting on June 21 and as a director through the 2013 annual meeting.
On Thursday he said he would walk away from both of those positions, effective immediately.