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Yahoo and Best Buy: The CEO departure effect

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Wed, 06/06/2012 - 15:32
Ted Marzilli
Yahoo and Best Buy: The CEO departure effect

Former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson’s resume fudging seemingly hasn’t hurt the company’s consumer reputation in the US anywhere as much as the double whammy of Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn’s April resignation followed by the chairman’s departure in May.

As a matter of fact, Yahoo’s early April layoffs appear to have had a bigger negative impact on the brand than Thompson’s resignation the following month. Even those layoffs did not bring down Yahoo’s reputation to the same levels as where Best Buy has sunk twice in the past few months.

Comparing Yahoo and Best Buy may reflect not only the divergent strengths of both brands, but how the differing natures of how these C-level executive episodes impacted their consumer reputations: lying on a resume versus a married man in a possible affair with a female employee.

At the beginning of April, both Yahoo and Best Buy were at comparable reputation levels, but it all changed quickly after that. More than two months later, Yahoo’s consumer reputation is considerably ahead of Best Buy’s.

Yahoo’s reputation bounced back quickly after the April layoffs and only experienced mild bumpiness in the 11 days then-CEO Thompson was under the gun for his college credentials.

On the other hand, when Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn resigned under the cloud of an “inappropriate relationship” with a female employee – at about the same time as the Yahoo layoffs -- the chain’s reputation sunk considerably below Yahoo. Best Buy slowly recovered to Yahoo levels from mid-April to mid-May, only to fall back hard again when founder Richard Schulze stepped down for not handling the Dunn affair to the board’s liking.

Yahoo and Best Buy were measured using YouGov BrandIndex’s reputation score, which asks respondents, "Would you be proud or embarrassed to work for this brand?"

YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

On April 2nd, Yahoo and Best Buy had nearly the same reputation scores, with the former at 30 and the latter at 31. Yahoo’s layoffs brought it down to a 26 score ten days later, while Best Buy dropped to 21 on April 13th.

Yahoo’s post-layoff rebound brought it back up to a 37 score by the end of April. When CEO Thompson resigned, the score slid to a modest 34 and then back up to 37. Yahoo’s current reputation score is 34.

Best Buy rebounded from Dunn’s resignation back up to a 34 score in mid-May, when it very briefly equaled Yahoo’s score. However, just after the founder’s announcement its reputation quickly dropped again and is currently at 24.

Best Buy & Yahoo! Reputation-Adults 18+
Best Buy & Yahoo! Reputation-Adults 18+
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