Ubiquitous electronics chain Best Buy is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary, but just three years ago, a golden anniversary didn’t look to be a certainty. Best Buy is the largest retail chain in the world, but at the time the company was mired in losses and its management team was in chaos. Enter CEO Hubert Joly, a veteran from the advertising world with an eye toward workplace diversity. One of his top priorities was to recruit Sharon McCollum out of retirement. She’d previously been a top executive at Williams-Sonoma, overseeing a company resurgence during her time there. McCollum came on board as Best Buy’s CFO and got right to work, touring 75 stores nationwide to discover what in tarnation was ailing the electronics giant. Once she figured it out, she and Joly sprang into action, and together with Shari Ballard and Mary Lou Kelley, they righted the ship. Today, the top tier of Best Buy is largely led by women. Women run the operations that account for a whopping 90 percent of the company’s revenue. And that’s by design. Joly took cues from some of the same gender-diversity research that inspired Sheryl Sandberg’s bestselling book Lean In. He sums up his perspective on women in key roles like this: “If it had been Lehman Sisters instead of Lehman Brothers, maybe it would not have been the catastrophe that it was.”
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