Richard M. Schulze

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Richard M. Schulze
BornJanuary 1941 (age 80)
NationalityUnited States
Known forFounder of Best Buy
Net worthUS$3.8 billion (Forbes 2019)[1]
Spouse(s)Sandra J. Schulze (deceased)
Maureen Schulze

Richard Michael Schulze (born January 1941)[2] is an American billionaire businessman. He is the founder of Best Buy and was chairman and CEO. On the Forbes 2016 list of the world's billionaires, he was ranked #722 with a net worth of US$2.4 billion.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Richard M. Schulze was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he attended Central High School.[citation needed] He subsequently spent time in the U.S. Air Force with the Minnesota Air National Guard. After the Air Force, he worked as a consumer electronics salesman.[3]

He has an honorary degree from the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul.[citation needed]


In 1966, mortgaging his home, he founded an audio equipment store named Sound of Music in Saint Paul.[3] The company expanded to nine stores and after a tornado destroyed one, he had a "tornado sale" at one location with a very large selection of goods and low prices. The sale was a hit and he renamed the chain Best Buy and shifted the model to a superstore format with 18,000 square foot stores, everyday low prices, and a heavy advertising budget.[3] The format was very popular and thanks to increased demand for consumer electronics (especially with the advent of VCRs), the chain grew to forty stores in 1989.[3] Thereafter, he eliminated the commission model (customers disliked aggressive sales) and expanded Best Buy's offerings to include computer software, music, movies, and computer hardware.[3] In 1994, he increased the average store size to between 45,000 and 58,000 square feet.[3] In 1995, the chain had $5 billion in sales and 155 stores.[3] In 1996, Best Buy added appliances and kitchen utensils to its lineup.[3]

In May 2012, Schulze announced that he is stepping down as Best Buy chairman after an investigation found that he knew that the CEO was having a relationship with a female employee and did not alert the audit committee.[4]

It was announced on August 6, 2012, that Schulze made a bid to buy out the Best Buy company. According to the report he already owns 20% of the company. This news caused the share price of Best Buy to go up slightly.[5] By late February, talks between Best Buy Co. and Schulze ended. He and private equity investors sought three board seats in exchange for acquiring a minority stake in the company. However, he wasn't able to line up the funding [6]

On March 25, 2013, Best Buy Co. Inc. announced that Schulze will rejoin the company that he founded with a new title: chairman emeritus. The Richfield, Minnesota-based retailer also announced that two former executives, Brad Anderson and Al Lenzmeier, will serve as Schulze's representatives on the board of directors. They are key Schulze allies who had advised him on his attempt to buy the company.[7]


In 2000, Schulze donated $50 million to the University of St. Thomas, at the time the largest donation to a Minnesota college or university. The money went to help open the UST School of Law, featuring the prominent Schulze Grand Atrium, as well as The Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, part of the St. Thomas College of Business and located in Schulze Hall [1]; both schools are in downtown Minneapolis. Schulze sits on the Board of Governors of the UST School of Law.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Schulze lives in Naples, Florida. He is Roman Catholic and was married to Sandra J. Schulze until her death in 2001, with whom he had four children.[8] He is remarried to Maureen Schulze.[9] On November 9, 1991, Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson designated the day as Richard M. Schulze Day.


  1. ^ a b "The World's Billionaires (2016 ranking): #722 Richard Schulze". Forbes. March 1, 2016. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  2. ^ "Billionaires: Richard Michael SCHULZE". Wealth-X. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h The Online Encyclopedia: "Schulze, Richard – Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Richard Schulze, Social and Economic Impact" retrieved September 9, 2013
  4. ^ "Best Buy Chairman steps down after CEO probe". Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  5. ^ Smith, Aaron (August 6, 2012). "Best Buy founder offers to buy out company". CNN.
  6. ^ Burritt, Christopher (March 1, 2013). "Best Buy Says It Got No Offer From Founder Schulze". Bloomberg.
  7. ^ "Best Buy founder rejoins retailer with new role, title: Chairman Emeritus". Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Home". Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  9. ^ Star Tribune Business: "Best Buy founder Richard Schulze plans billion-dollar foundation" by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY and PATRICK KENNEDY June 18, 2013

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Company under Best Buy name founded 1983 (formerly Sound of Music founded in 1966)
Best Buy CEO
Succeeded by
Brad Anderson