“Jim, you’re crazy!”

This is what I said to my friend Jim Citrin, who leads the North American CEO practice at Spencer Stuart, the global executive search company. Jim and I had known each other since the 1980s, when we both worked at management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. It was May 2012, and Jim had asked me a simple question: Would I be interested in becoming the next CEO of Best Buy?

I had known Best Buy for a long time, and not just because I was living in Minnesota when I got Jim’s call. A dozen years earlier, when I was leading the video games division of Vivendi Universal out of Los Angeles, I had first braved the winters in Minneapolis to pitch Diablo II, Half-Life, or some other of our latest video games at ...

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