June 11, 2019
John Vomhof Jr.Staff Writer
There’s a new boss at Best Buy.
On Tuesday, Corie Barry becomes the fifth CEO in the company’s 53-year history. She replaces Hubert Joly, who led the company through a successful turnaround over the past seven years and will now become executive chairman as part of a planned leadership transition.
A Minnesota native, Corie has been with Best Buy for 20 years, most recently serving as the company’s chief financial and strategic transformation officer. She has been a member of the executive team for the past four years, playing a critical role in developing the company’s growth strategy.
“I love this company, and I mean it when I say that it feels like family,” she said. “The amount of humility I feel stepping into this chair is immense and, at the same time, it’s balanced with a true sense of excitement. I am proud of the work we are doing.”
A Best Buy veteran
Corie first joined Best Buy as a senior financial analyst in 1999, and it was quickly apparent she was poised for bigger things.
“Right from the get-go, she was one of those people who could grasp a lot of data. She had the ability to take in so much information and really come away with insights,” said Anne Loughrey, Corie’s first boss at Best Buy. “I was basically just predicting when she would be my boss.”
Corie went on to serve in a variety of roles, both in the field and at the corporate office. She pushed herself to take risks and do jobs that made her feel uncomfortable.
“I found that the places I stretched myself the most are the places that also exponentially seemed to help my career grow the most,” she said.
Corie became CFO in 2016 and, before that, served as chief strategic growth officer. She also previously served as senior vice president of domestic finance and interim president of Best Buy’s services organization.
“Corie is a wonderful human being and a very human leader who can build connections with a variety of leaders and individuals across the company,” Hubert said. “This combination of technical skills and great human leadership capabilities and humanity is something I’ve long admired about Corie and gives me enormous hope in the future.”
A strategic leader
As a member of the executive team, Corie worked closely with Hubert to help set the vision for the future, which is anchored in the company’s purpose to enrich lives through technology.
“She has the unique ability to articulate the vision for the future,” Hubert said. “She is very strategic and, at the same time, because of her experience working at the company, she has the skills to see what it would take to transform the vision into action.”
As CEO, Corie will continue to work closely with the existing management team, including Mike Mohan, who is being promoted to president and chief operating officer as part of the leadership transition. He has been with the company since 2004, and he was the company’s chief merchandising officer prior to becoming U.S. chief operating officer last year.
“Continuity is the name of the game here,” Corie said. “We have the leadership team in place. We have a strategy in place that is roundly embraced, both internally and externally. It’s working, it has good momentum.”
Corie grew up on 10 acres near Cambridge, Minnesota, about an hour north of Minneapolis. She fondly remembers riding her bike down dirt roads and searching for frogs in ponds.
“As I look back, it was a really wonderful, safe way to grow up,” she said.
She had a deep relationship with her parents, who were self-employed artists. Corie would travel with her father to art shows across the Midwest. Her first retail experience came from helping him unload the van, set up the booth and sell his custom handbags and other leather goods.
She also got her first introduction to Best Buy early in life. A music fan, she’d visit Sound of Music — the company’s name from its founding in 1966 until 1983 — to flip through vinyl records and cassette tapes with her grandparents.
But Corie never imagined she would one day lead the company. As a child, she dreamed of being a dancer or a marine biologist.
“Corporate America didn’t even cross my mind as something I would aspire to do,” she said. “Instead it was much more organic, nature-related things.”
Driven to succeed
Corie says she developed a strong work ethic from her parents, but she always craved more structure and stability than the life of an artist could provide. She worked hard in high school and got a scholarship to the College of St. Benedict, an all-women’s school in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
At St. Ben’s, Corie worked an on-campus job and played rugby while attending classes. She double-majored in accounting and management, graduating with a 3.99 GPA.
“I’ve always felt it’s important to demand return on your investment,” she said. “If you’re going to put your time in, where you put it in and the return you get is incredibly important because there are only so many hours in a day.”
After graduating, Corie went to work as an auditor at Deloitte & Touche for two years before joining Best Buy.
A family focus
Corie met her husband, Marty, while at St. Ben’s. He attended St. John’s University, the neighboring all-men’s college.
They’ve been married almost 19 years and have two children, a 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. They also have a dog named Baxter and two cats, Pickles and Chips.
When she’s not busy running a Fortune 100 company, Corie she spends much of her time at youth baseball games, jumping on the trampoline and helping her kids with homework.
Corie makes it a priority to be home for dinner and quality time with her family. When she’s on the road, Corie uses FaceTime to stay in touch, and she sends the kids photos of the places she visits.
“My point of view is there is no perfect balance,” she said. “All you can do is figure out what works for you. I laugh because I’m always the mom who shows up at the baseball game in my heels, and that’s OK.”