"Certain issues were brought to the board's attention regarding Dunn's personal conduct, unrelated to the company's operations or financial controls, and an audit committee investigation was initiated," according to a company statement issued late Tuesday. "Prior to the completion of the investigation, Mr. Dunn chose to resign."
Best Buy Co. hasn't disclosed the terms of Dunn's severance package. But Dunn's annual compensation for fiscal 2010, the latest figures available, was worth about $5 million - half of what it was in the prior fiscal year.
The resignation adds to Best Buy's mounting problems. Up until a few years ago, the nation's largest consumer electronics retailer was the place Americans went to grab TVs and cameras. But the chain has suffered in the economic downturn and has been widely criticized for not being quick to respond to growing competition and the changing shopping habits of Americans.
While industry watchers had been calling for changes at Best Buy, news of the investigation didn't sit well with Wall Street. On the news of the probe, Best Buy's shares fell almost 6 percent, or $1.33, to close at $21.32, after initially climbing higher on news of Dunn's departure. Best Buy's shares have lost more than half of their value since April 2006, when they were trading at $56.66 per share.
"It's good news that he's gone," said Brian Sozzi, chief equities analyst at NBG Productions, an independent research firm. "But this adds another layer of uncertainty."
Best Buy said Tuesday that board member Mike Mikan, 39, will serve as interim CEO while the company searches for Dunn's permanent replacement. A new CEO will face a big challenge trying to usher Best Buy into a new era.