OCB Alumnus G. "Mike" Mikan named interim CEO of Best Buy

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's been a tumultuous few weeks for Best Buy, the Twin Cities-based electronics retail giant. After the announcement of store closures at the end of March, the company's CEO, Brian Dunn resigned. The Star Tribune reports that his interim replacement will be an alumnus of the Opus College of Business, G. "Mike" Mikan.

Grandson of a professional basketball legend, the 41-year-old Mikan graduated from the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business with a B.A. in accounting in 1994. From 1998 to 2011, Mikan worked at UnitedHealth Group, starting in the finance department and rising through the ranks until he was asked to lead the company's Optum unit, a $27 billion business.

While at UnitedHealth, Mikan established a reputation as a capable, versatile executive. BMO Capital Markets health care analyst Dave Shove told the Star Tribune that Mikan "not only understood the money side of the ledger, but also how the business worked – the products, customers, the trends. He's definitely not a green-eyeshade kind of guy."

Mikan was a member of the Best Buy board of directors before being named interim CEO, serving on the board since 2008.

While both Twin Cities daily newspapers reported wide praise for Mikan as interim CEO, OCB Center for Retailing Excellence co-director Dave Brennan feels that the company will look in a different direction to fill the position on a permanent basis. "Mikan is a financial guy. In the longer term, the real issues are marketplace issues," he told the Star Tribune. "They need to look outside the organization for someone familiar with Internet retailing." Speaking to the Pioneer Press, Brennan elaborated: "They probably need to have somebody coming in from the outside, who knows the industry but has the flexibility to make the kinds of changes that are necessary to reposition the company for surviving Internet retailing in the future."

Originally published: 04/10/2012, Star Tribune