Home>Hubert Joly, chairman and CEO of Best Buy awarded the 1st US Sciences Po Alumni Award


Hubert Joly, chairman and CEO of Best Buy awarded the 1st US Sciences Po Alumni Award

On June 17, 2015, the US Sciences Po hosted the 1st US Sciences Po Alumni Award Reception in New York and honored Hubert Joly (’83), chairman and CEO of Best Buy, the leading retailer of technology products, services and solutions, with approximately 1600 stores in North America and more than $40 billion in annual revenue.

The US Sciences Po Alumni Award has been created to recognize an extraordinary Alumnus who has demonstrated visionary leadership.

The World Economic Forum in Davos applauded Joly’s accomplishments as vice president of Electronic Data Systems (EDS) Europe and president of EDS France, and he was named Global Leader for Tomorrow from 1997 to 1999.  Carlson Wagonlit Travel grew its annual sales from USD 8.9 billion in 2003 to USD 25.5 billion in 2007 under his leadership as CEO. Since he became CEO of Best Buy in 2012, company stock rose by 90%, twice the performance of the S&P 500. 

In his lively presentation at the reception, Joly set forth his vision of leadership.  People should be considered as the key to excellence by focusing on the personal development of all individuals touched by the company.  During meetings, “I always make sure I start by mentioning progress made on the human front, by discussing trainings and development initiatives, and then move to discussing financial results […] Maintaining healthy financial results is a means, not an end.  Making money is an imperative, but there is a difference between an imperative and a purpose, and our purpose is the common good.”  Joly also reminded us that a leader’s success is about curiosity and learning.  “It is our responsibility to keep a curious mind”. 
A great CEO must define a comprehensive strategy that strengthens the company’s position across its businesses.  A great leader will need courage to take action and say “yes”.  “We think we can predict accurately which business idea will be a success or a failure, and are tempted to turn down every opportunity.  The cost of 19 failures may be more than covered by the one success.  So I have learned to say yes and to try things out even when I disagree”.

Joly also shared a few memories from Sciences Po that make him smile today.
When asked about the competitiveness of France, a practitioner (maître de conference) reminded him that one of the main strength of France was the quality of its public service…
He also remembers that night before the “grand oral”, he did not get a chance to sleep because he was at the same time involved with his military service—he was on call to look after prisoners.  But he made it!

He would like to give one piece of advice to future graduates of Sciences Po, “remember that the key to success is learning, don’t focus on salary!”  Four months after he started working at Best Buy, he was on two lists: one of the five CEOs that will be fired in 2013, and one of the seven best turnaround guy in the United States.  He sees his work at Best Buy as a work in progress and plans to stay for many years.  

Thanks to Hubert Joly and Best Buy.  Thanks to Alumni and Friends.  Because of your support, the US Sciences Po Foundation was able to raise the amount necessary to fund a full scholarship for an American student to study at Sciences Po.