Chief Executive Officer |

Bob Willett, Chief Executive Officer of Best Buy International

August 07, 2009

Among other topics, Bob discusses the following issues with Metis Strategy

  • The critical role of technology in a multifaceted, geographically dispersed business as the key agent of change
  • The emerging trend of more CEOs coming from a CIO career path
  • The benefits to CEOs of involving their CIOs in all strategic decisions
  • How Best Buy uses Business Information Officers, which are evaluated on their respective businesses, rather than Information Technology Officers
  • The value of software residing in how it is used, rather than in what software is used
  • The importance of cultural fit when working with an external partner to provide value to the customer


Bob Willett’s Biography

Robert A. Willett is the chief executive officer of Best Buy International, the strategic business unit of Best Buy Co., Inc., focused on creating opportunities for growth and innovation outside of the United States. He was appointed to this role in February 2006.

Under Willett’s leadership, Best Buy International has implement a global integration and growth strategy to maximize the retailer’s opportunities beyond North America, while continuing to reengineer the supply chain, Mobile phone and information technology functions that support the company’s customer centric transformation. Executives responsible for enterprise-wide efficiency initiatives, information systems, supply chain management, global sourcing, corporate development and Best Buy Mobile report to Willett. He is also a Chairman of the Best Buy Europe/Carphone wharehouse joint venture.

Prior to his current role, Willett served as the executive vice president of operations and chief information officer for Best Buy, and today continues to lead the company’s efforts to improve efficiencies and simplify its customer-centric operating model.

Willett’s experience spans a number of positions in the retail industry over the past several decades. Willett previously was global managing partner for Accenture Consulting retail practice, where he worked with best-in-class retailers throughout the world on strategy reviews, business transformation, procurement and supply chain management, brand positioning, technology transformation and customer segmentation.

Prior to joining Best Buy formally in 2003, Willett served as a special advisor to the Best Buy board of directors on issues relating to operational efficiency and excellence. During his tenure with Accenture, he also served as a partner on the “Process to Profits” initiative that Best Buy undertook in the late 1990s.

Willett launched his retail career in store management at Marks & Spencer a leading British department store chain in 1968, and has held executive positions, including managing director and group chief executive, for other retailers in Europe.

CIO Magazine named Willett to the CIO Hall of Fame in 2008 to honor his significant contributions to the IT discipline, use of technology in business and advancement of the CIO role. He was also recently named to the board of directors for LightHaus Logic, Inc., an innovative provider of video analytics systems based in Canada.

The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview

  • 01 1- People
  • 02 2- Infrastructure
  • 03 3- Project and Portfolio Management
  • 04 4- IT & Business Partnership
  • 05 5- External Partnerships

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