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Best Buy CEO Joly resigns as MIA board chair; cites staffer relationship

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Citing a relationship he's started with a museum staffer, Minneapolis Institute of Arts Board Chair Hubert Joly says he is stepping down from his post, the Star Tribune reports.

Joly, who is also the CEO of Best Buy, sent an e-mail to the newspaper “to address any potential or perceived conflict of interest.”

“I have recently begun seeing a new person in my life,” said Joly, who is divorced, in the e-mail. “This person happens to work at the MIA. As a result, I have offered to not finish my term ... This is now a purely private matter.”

The resignation comes about one year into Joly's two-year term as MIA board chair. The Star Tribune says at the request of the board, Joly will continue on his duties through the museum's annual meeting July 17.

A member of the board’s executive committee says he was "absolutely shocked” by Joly's decision to resign from the position, but he respects the move and calls it "a very dignified step.”

“When you’re in a position of power and authority, you’re at risk when you mess with staff,” Reid MacDonald told the Star Tribune. “It clearly would be the wrong thing to be both board chair and having a relationship.”

It appears unclear whether Joly would remain on the board, but he reportedly intends to remain involved.

"He was a great chair and we were really happy to have had him for the year that we did, but he said that due to personal and business commitments he couldn't continue as chair," MIA Director of Public Relations Anne-Marie Wagener told the Business Journal. "He promises to remain involved with us. It's a definite commitment, and he just felt that he couldn't fulfill it ... and he asked to step down."

Joly's private life became public last year when it was disclosed that the executive sold more than $10 million of his Best Buy stocks to cover costs of his divorce.

The Wall Street Journal reported the sale accounted for more than 20 percent of Joly's Best Buy holdings.

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