Best Buy hires new Web leaders

NEW YORK -- Best Buy on Wednesday named an Expedia executive as head of its e-commerce operations.

Scott Durchslag, 46, will be senior vice president of Best Buy and president online and global e-commerce, effective Monday. He will be responsible for all of Best Buy's global e-commerce channels, including and mobile commerce. Durchslag was president of online travel agency Expedia Worldwide. Before that he was a McKinsey & Co. partner, and he was chief operating officer of Skype before it was bought by eBay Inc.

Durchslag replaces Jim Thompson, who retired. Thompson joined the company in 2001 and most recently was senior vice president and general manager of Best Buy Inc.'s website.

Durchslag's hire comes as Best Buy attempts to expand its online offerings to improve earnings. Best Buy stores are becoming unprofitable as customers increasingly use them to browse for electronics, and then buy the same items cheaper online. On top of that shoppers are not snapping up big TVs and computers as fast as they used to, opting for smaller gadgets like cellphones and tablets.

Best Buy also has a new CEO, turnaround expert Hubert Joly, who joined the company after former CEO Brian Dunn left in April amid a company investigation into an "improper relationship" with a 29-year-old female employee.

Meanwhile founder Richard Schulze is pursuing a possible buyout of the company. He already owns 20 percent of the Minneapolis retailer's stock, and has suggested that he could pay $24 to $26 per share for the chain.

Best Buy shares rose 79 cents, or 4.7 percent, to $17.76 in afternoon trading. The stock is down 24 percent since the start of the year.