Brian Dunn says that his relationship with a 29-year-old subordinate, while close, was not romantic or otherwise improper. Well, maybe. But I sure wouldn't want to be explaining to my spouse the details of that close friendship, which are laid out in a company investigation. From the board's report:
--33 phone calls, 149 text messages and 42 picture or video messages between the two during a five day and four day stretch.
--Several photographs on Dunn's personal cell phone that contained messages of affection.
--Several employees witnessing the CEO visit with the female employee in his office and alone in conference rooms.
--The female employee speaking openly and frequently about her friendship with the CEO and the favors he provided to her.
--Dunn and the female employee acknowledging numerous social meetings outside the office, including lunches and drinks both during the work week and on the weekend.
--The CEO loaning the female employee $600 so that she could change her plane ticket from Las Vegas.
The investigation's conclusion:
We find that the CEO violated Company policies with respect to inappropriate conduct, conflicts of interest, and vendor gifts, but we find no evidence of misuse of Company resources.As the CEO of a publicly held company, he was in a position in which his leadership skills were critical to his capacity to oversee approximately 167,000 employees and to maintain the confidence of shareholders and investors. Here, the CEO developed a close personal relationship with a subordinate that negatively impacted the work environment. Such behavior was disruptive and reflected poorly on the CEO's judgment.
The topper is a separation agreement worked out between Dunn and the Best Buy board that's worth $6.6 million. Meanwhile, whatever happened - or didn't happen - between Dunn and the woman was apparently known by company chairman Richard Schulze, who failed to notify the rest of the board. Not good. Schulze has stepped down.