Richard Michael Schulze (born March 25, 1941)[1] 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 number 722 with a net worth of US$2.4 billion.[2]

Richard M. Schulze
Richard Michael Schulze

(1941-03-25) March 25, 1941 (age 83)
Known forFounder of Best Buy
Spouse(s)Sandra J. Schulze (deceased)
Maureen Schulze

Early life and education


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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 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-sq-ft stores, everyday low prices, and a heavy advertising budget.[citation needed] The format was very popular and thanks to increased demand for consumer electronics (especially with the advent of VCRs), the chain grew to 40 stores in 1989.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] In 1994, he increased the average store size to between 45,000 and 58,000 sq ft.[citation needed] In 1995, the chain had $5 billion in sales and 155 stores.[citation needed] In 1996, Best Buy added appliances and kitchen utensils to its lineup.[citation needed]

In May 2012, Schulze announced that he was 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.[3]

As announced on August 6, 2012, Schulze made a bid to buy out the Best Buy company. According to the report, he already owned 20% of the company. This news caused the share price of Best Buy to go up slightly.[4] By late February, talks between Best Buy Co. and Schulze ended. Private equity investors and he sought three board seats in exchange for acquiring a minority stake in the company, but he was not able to line up the funding.[5]

On March 25, 2013, Best Buy Co. Inc. announced that Schulze would 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.[6]



Schulze has pledged to give away $1 billion to charity and education.[7][8] In 2000, he donated $50 million to the University of St. Thomas to support a new school of entrepreneurship.[9][10] Schulze is a trustee and chair of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation (RMSFF),[11] which he founded after stepping down as CEO of Best Buy in 2002.[12][13] Based in Minneapolis, the foundation focuses on education, health, human services, and medicine, in Minnesota and Florida.[14] As of 2018, it was among the five largest private foundations in Minnesota.[15]

RMSFF donated approximately $49 million to the Mayo Clinic in 2006 to establish a new cancer research center in Rochester,[16] and $40 million to the University of Minnesota in 2008 for diabetes research.[17] As part of its entrepreneurship initiative, RMSFF donated $500,000 annually to support scholars, faculty, and an online idea exchange, as of 2015.[7] RMSFF has also funded the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence to increase enrollment at Catholic schools in Minnesota via information-sharing, training for teachers, and technology improvements.[8][18] Since 2016, RMSFF has supported a non-profit organization offering family assistance in Southwest Florida.[19] In 2023, the foundation donated $4 million to Children's Minnesota for a pediatric hybrid intraoperative MRI neurosurgery suite,[20] $20 million to the NCH Healthcare System for a new cardiac and stroke center in Naples, Florida,[21] and $25 million to Allina Health to upgrade Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.[22]

Personal life


Schulze lives in Naples, Florida. He is a Catholic and was married to Sandra J. Schulze until her death in 2001, with whom he had four children.[23] He is remarried to Maureen Schulze.[24] On November 9, 1991, Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson designated the day as Richard M. Schulze Day.


  1. ^ "Billionaires: Richard Michael SCHULZE". Wealth-X. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  2. ^ "The World's Billionaires (2016 ranking): #722 Richard Schulze". Forbes. March 1, 2016. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  3. ^ "Best Buy Chairman steps down after CEO probe". Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  4. ^ Smith, Aaron (August 6, 2012). "Best Buy founder offers to buy out company". CNN.
  5. ^ Burritt, Christopher (March 1, 2013). "Best Buy Says It Got No Offer From Founder Schulze". Bloomberg.
  6. ^ "Best Buy founder rejoins retailer with new role, title: Chairman Emeritus". 8 March 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Schulze foundation to spend $500,000 to bolster entrepreneurship". Star Tribune. September 21, 2015. Archived from the original on January 30, 2023.
  8. ^ a b Hopfensperger, Jean (October 11, 2015). "Best Buy founder Schulze cranks up giving at his $1 billion family foundation". Star Tribune.
  9. ^ "St. Paul / St. Thomas gets $50M donation". St. Paul Pioneer Press. January 24, 2008. In 2000, the school received a $50 million gift from Best Buy founder and chairman Richard Schulze and his late wife, Sandra.
  10. ^ Moore, Janet (May 14, 2012). "As longtime boss, Schulze got used to acting alone". Star Tribune. ... at the University of St. Thomas, where Schulze donated $50 million to help create a school of entrepreneurship.
  11. ^ "Our Founder". Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation.
  12. ^ "Billionaire founder of Best Buy gives historic donations to ..." Star Tribune. September 16, 2023. Richard Schulze launched his Twin Cities foundation after he stepped down as CEO of Best Buy.
  13. ^ "Bio Box: Best Buy founder Richard Schulze". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. August 6, 2012. He is also a director of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, which supports organizations that help families and children in a variety of areas including education, social services, and other areas
  14. ^ "Schulze Family Foundation Awards Grants Totaling $21.3 Million". Philanthropy News Digest. February 16, 2015.
  15. ^ "Richard M. Schulze Foundation grows in prominence and assistance to those in need". Star Tribune. December 29, 2018. The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation in 2018 distributed about $42 million, 10 times that of 2013. RMSFF has grown in five years to one of Minnesota's five largest private foundations.
  16. ^ "Best Buy founder donates $48.9M to Mayo Clinic". Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. December 2, 2005.
  17. ^ Marcotty, Josephine (December 11, 2008). "Best Buy founder gives U $40 million". Star Tribune.
  18. ^ Gaafarelkhalifa, Abdulla (June 23, 2022). "Catholic schools in St. Cloud will receive additional support from nonprofit". St. Cloud Times.
  19. ^ Miller, Meagan (November 8, 2023). "Better Together gets $130K grant from Schulze Family Foundation". WZVN-TV.
  20. ^ "Business People: Schulze Foundation gives $4M to Children's Minnesota for new MRI unit". St. Paul Pioneer Press. February 5, 2023. Archived from the original on March 20, 2023.
  21. ^ Freeman, Liz (May 24, 2023). "Best Buy founder's foundation gives historic gift to NCH Healthcare System". Naples Daily News.
  22. ^ Olson, Jeremy; Smith, Kelly (September 14, 2023). "Record $25 million gift will help upgrade Abbott Northwestern surgery, critical care capabilities". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on December 27, 2023.
  23. ^ "Home". Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  24. ^ Star Tribune Business: "Best Buy founder Richard Schulze plans billion-dollar foundation" by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY and PATRICK KENNEDY June 18, 2013
Business positions
Preceded by
Company under Best Buy name founded 1983 (formerly Sound of Music founded in 1966)
Best Buy CEO
Succeeded by