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Biography: Brad Anderson

Episode 507
Looking at the Big Picture

Featured Guest:

Brad Anderson
Vice Chairman & CEO, Best Buy Co.

As vice chairman and chief executive officer of Best Buy, Brad Anderson champions the ongoing development of leaders at all levels within the enterprise in order to germinate new ideas to drive and sustain the company's growth and success. He believes that constant innovation is required to enhance the quality of the customer's experience and is convinced that the best ideas come from those employees who are closest to the customer.

Anderson, a voracious reader of biographies and history, recognizes that innovation is often accompanied by challenge and change, which can become the platform for tremendous learning opportunities. He is convinced that taking advantage of people's inherent strengths and talents provides the necessary fuel to run the engine of top-line growth, value creation and sustained profitability. He believes employees can have fun while being the best and demands that integrity, humility and respect are demonstrated by all.

A lifelong audiophile, Anderson joined the company in 1973 as a commissioned salesman at the fledgling Sound of Music, a small chain of stereo stores that was the precursor to Best Buy. Within weeks of joining the company, Anderson was ready to quit because he had not made a single sale. Then, he discovered the power of asking the right questions and truly listening to the customer's answers. He became a successful sales person and eventually was named store manager. It was this early work that left Anderson with the indelible impression that a close-to-the-customer understanding of needs and operations would be key to Best Buy's continued innovation and growth.

Best Buy founder Dick Schulze recognized the success of Anderson’s retail operations expertise and named him vice president in 1981. Anderson worked closely with Schulze on all of the major strategic initiatives that transformed and grew Best Buy, including the move to a non-commissioned store staff and the decision to let customers browse for themselves in warehouse-style stores.

In 1986, Anderson was promoted to executive vice president and was elected to Best Buy’s Board of Directors. In April 1991, he was promoted to president and chief operating officer. Anderson was named vice chairman in 2001. In June 2002, he assumed the position of chief executive officer.

Today, Anderson leads more than 128,000 employees throughout North America and China who strive to provide customers with superior experiences as they seek the technology and entertainment products and services to make their lives easier and more fun. He is guiding Best Buy through another transformation – from a product-centric company to one that is talent-powered and customer-driven.

A native of Sheridan, Wyo., Anderson has an associate degree from Waldorf College, a liberal arts college located in Forest City, Iowa, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver.

Anderson's charitable and volunteer efforts are highlighted by his participation on the boards of the American Film Institute, the Best Buy Children's Foundation, Minnesota Public Radio, the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation and National Junior Achievement. He currently chairs the Retail Industry Leaders Association and also serves on the Waldorf College Board of Regents.

He recently was named one of "The Best CEOs in America" by Institutional Investor Magazine.

Anderson, age 56, and his wife, Janet, live in Minneapolis. They have two sons.

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