Best Buy Co. fell in late trading Friday after the company said its board is investigating allegations about the personal conduct of Chief Executive Officer Corie Barry.
The board received an anonymous letter with the allegations against Barry, according to the statement. Best Buy hired the law firm Sidley Austin LLP to conduct an independent review and encouraged “the letter’s author to come forward and be part of that confidential process,” the company said.
“The board has my full cooperation and support as it undertakes this review, and I look forward to its resolution in the near term,” Barry said in the statement that was emailed to Bloomberg News. The company declined to comment beyond the statement.
Earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Barry was in a romantic relationship with former Senior Vice President Karl Sanft, citing a copy of the anonymous letter that it said was delivered December 7. The letter alleges the relationship occurred before she took over as CEO last year, the Journal said.
Best Buy shares fell as much as 2.3 per cent after the close of regular trading before paring most of the decline. Sanft could not immediately be reached for comment when contacted on LinkedIn and email.
The announcement could be a distraction for the company as it prepares to release results for the all-important holiday period. The year-end shopping season was marred by a poor selection of electronics goods, experts say, which has dented the results of other retailers. Best Buy, given its market position, may be especially affected by the trend.
The company’s stock gained 66 per cent last year — more than double the return of the S&P 500 Index — as the company expanded its array of services designed to help consumers integrate electronics in their homes.