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Best Buy Board Hires DC Law Firm WilmerHale for Probe of Former CEO Dunn

Friday, 13 April 2012 03:17 PM

Best Buy Co.’s board hired Washington law firm WilmerHale for its investigation of former Chief Executive Officer Brian Dunn’s personal conduct, with two former federal officials involved in the probe.

Former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Director of Enforcement William R. McLucas and former U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Thomas Strickland are assigned to the case, Greg Hitt, a spokesman for Best Buy’s board, confirmed in an e- mail today. McLucas declined to comment today in e-mail, and Strickland didn’t immediately return a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.

WilmerHale, born out of a 2004 merger between Washington- based Wilmer Cutler & Pickering and Boston-based Hale and Dorr, has about 1,000 lawyers in 12 offices worldwide, according to its website. The firm ranks 18th among the top 100 U.S. law firms, according to The American Lawyer, a trade publication. Gross revenue for the firm rose 3 percent last year to $994 million, the publication said.

The firm is known for its roster of Washington lawyers including Seth Waxman, the Clinton administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, and former deputy attorneys general David W. Ogden and Jamie Gorelick. One of the firm’s founders, the late Lloyd Cutler, was counsel to Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

The firm represents BP Plc in investigations related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and represented AT&T Inc. in its failed bid for T-Mobile USA.

Best Buy fell 0.8 percent to $22.06 at 10:51 a.m. in New York. The shares declined 4.8 percent this year through yesterday.

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Wall Street Journal reported the firm’s hiring earlier.

‘Personal Conduct’

Best Buy announced Dunn’s resignation earlier this week, saying that the change was part of a “mutual agreement” that new leadership was needed. The company later said that a board committee was probing Dunn’s “personal conduct, unrelated to the company’s operations or financial control.”

That investigation centers on Dunn’s relationship with a female employee, people familiar with the matter said yesterday. The probe is continuing and the board’s findings will be made public, said Ron Hutcheson, a Best Buy spokesman who works for Hill & Knowlton Strategies in Washington.

Dunn’s severance package hasn’t been decided, Hutcheson said.

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Friday, 13 April 2012 03:17 PM
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