Richard Schulze had a splendid summer of 2012 planned. He had made billions starting Best Buy, the chain of electronics superstores, and at 71 was looking forward to relaxing with his wife at their home on Florida’s Gulf Coast, taking a European cruise, and playing plenty of golf. He would shoot up to Minnesota on his private jet for board meetings and to check on the $500 million fundraising campaign he was co-chairing for the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
It didn’t work out that way. In April, Schulze’s handpicked CEO, Brian Dunn, was forced out over what the board described as an “extremely close personal relationship” with an employee. Schulze, who knew about the relationship but failed to notify the rest of the board, gave up his chairmanship and then quit entirely after 46 years at the company. But rather than work on his golf game, Schulze did something that didn’t surprise anyone who knows him: He decided to try to buy the company back.