Brian Tilzer

Brian Tilzer
Chief Digital and Technology Officer
Best Buy Co., Inc.

Last Updated: 09/04/2018

Executive Summary

Brian Tilzer serves as the Chief Digital and Technology Officer for Best Buy, a role he assumed in May 2018. He most recently served as Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of CVS Health, where he was responsible for developing and leading the teams driving CVS Health’s companywide digital innovation efforts. Tilzer has over two decades of strategic business development, operations and information technology experience in the retail, consumer and health care industries. Tilzer joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in 1992 and worked as a consultant for a decade, earning an MBA in Strategic Management and Marketing from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania along the way. In 2002, Tilzer was appointed Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Development for Linens’n Things, where he developed and oversaw strategic planning, business development and customer insights functions for $3B retailer with 550 stores. In 2007, he joined Staples, where he held several executive roles in strategy, business development, and delivery.  In 2010, Tilzer was named Staples’ Senior Vice President of Global eCommerce, where he developed and led eCommerce teams driving multichannel digital growth across for b-to-c and b-to-b businesses globally. Tilzer launched Staples’ Cambridge eCommerce Innovation Center and led mobile and online channel development.

Personal Attributes and Interests

  • Tilzer attended Horace Greeley High School between 1984 and 1988.
  • Tilzer is married and has three sons; he and his family live just outside Boston, in Sudbury. He is from Chappaqua, New York.
  • When asked what advice he might offer to big box retailers who haven’t seen much success in the digital space, Tilzer said, “It all comes back to Marketing 101. You have to know your customer. Consistently keep the focus on them and trying to understand what they want and need, and then figure out how to use some of the new e-commerce tools to support those wants. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to force a new digital methodology onto your customers if it’s not appropriate for their business. Remember, it’s always about the customer and their experience!”
  • According to an industry blog, "Tilzer’s IT experience goes all the way back to the 1960s, when his mother worked as a programmer for Equitable Life Insurance. Later, she taught her very young son how to write programs for the Apple II. This got Tilzer his first job in retail, showing customers at his local computer store what they could do with the personal computer."
  • From the looks of his Facebook page, he seems to enjoy cycling, baseball, outdoor activities and is also a Howard Stern fan.
  • In January 2017, Tilzer was appointed to the board of directors of Signet Jewelers Ltd. “Brian brings to Signet deep, innovative digital and e-commerce experiences at major retailers,” said Chairman H. Todd Stitzer. “There is a valuable connection between Brian’s very specific experience and the strong growth opportunities ahead for Signet. Brian is a successful innovator in the digital space and we believe his knowledge and insight will make Brian a valuable addition to the Signet Board of Directors.”

Current Focus

  • Company snapshot: Best Buy is a leading retailer of technology products, services, and solutions, with approximately 1,600 stores in North America and more than $40 billion in annual revenue. The company is based in Richfield, Minnesota, and has operations in the United States, where more than 70% of the population lives within  15 minutes of a Best Buy store,  as well as in Canada and Mexico, where  Best Buy has a physical and online presence.  The company was founded in 1966 as an audio specialty store, Sound of Music.  In 1983, it was renamed and rebranded with more emphasis placed on consumer electronics.
  • Responsibilities: As Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Tilzer is responsible for all aspects of information technology and digital at Best Buy to create a seamless and superior multichannel customer experience in support of the company’s Best Buy 2020 growth strategy.
  • IT at Best Buy: Best Buy’s IT Operations, with 800 employees, is charged with ensuring the availability and reliability of all applications and infrastructure supporting 1,400 Best Buy stores and corporate office; the strategic direction and day-to-day delivery of IT Service Management; project delivery across Application Operations and Service Management; and managing and delivering the IT Retail Holiday Planning and Preparedness Program that ensures system and resource readiness for the holiday season.
  • Boost Technology Lineup for Seniors: In August 2018, Best Buy agreed to buy GreatCall Inc., the maker of senior-focused Jitterbug mobile phones, for $800 million as part of an effort to increase investments in technology that addresses the needs of older people, reported WSJ. Best Buy reached the deal with private-equity firm GTCR, which acquired GreatCall in 2017. In addition to its Jitterbug phones, GreatCall provides devices designed to help consumers connect with caregivers and obtain concierge-type and emergency services. Best Buy said the deal would be neutral to its adjusted earnings in fiscal 2019 and 2020 and boost them by 2021. The company said the deal is part of its Best Buy 2020 strategy, which aims to use technology to address key human needs, specifically among the U.S.’s aging population. There are 50 million Americans over age 65, a number that is expected to increase by more than 50% within the next 20 years, according to Best Buy. “We know technology can improve the quality of life of the aging population and those who care for them,” said CEO Hubert Joly. “Now, we have a great opportunity to serve the needs of these customers by combining GreatCall’s expertise with Best Buy’s unique merchandising, marketing, sales and services capabilities.” GreatCall will maintain its San Diego headquarters, as well as its call centers in Carlsbad, California and Reno. The deal is expected to close by the end of October 2018.
  • Omnichannel Bets Paying Off: Best Buy is acing its omnichannel plans as it posted strong first-quarter earnings as its same-store sales surged 7.1% due to high demand for mobile devices, smart home, and services, ZDNet said in May 2018.  ZDNet reports: "The company has bucked the brick-and-mortar retail malaise by moving more orders online, staffing up and providing good experiences. Best Buy said its online revenue in the quarter was $1.14 billion, up 12 percent. Online sales are now 13.5 percent of revenue."  According to CEO Hubert Joly, Best Buy saw strong sales across most products and channels.  The company is also investing in services like Total Tech Support.  On a conference call with analysts, Joly said the company's purpose is to apply technology by "addressing key human needs in areas such as entertainment, productivity, communication, food preparation, security and health and wellness."  Total Tech Support is an area where Best Buy is hoping to grow, the article said.  Total Tech Support costs $199 per year for unlimited Geek Squad support via chat, in stores and in-app.  The upshot to the company's strategy is that it wants to build long-term relationships with its customers.  On the call, Joly added, "Tech support is a great value as members also receive free internet security software and discounts on in-home services and purchases of annual Geek Squad protection and Apple Care service plans. What is equally exciting is that the futures and capabilities provided by Total Tech support will be expanded all the time." 
  • Best Buy 2020: At the company's Investor Day in September 2017, its first in five years, executives at Best Buy laid out a new strategy of priorities and changes in its merchandising, training and marketing over the next three years, WSJ reported. Called Best Buy 2020, the plan is CEO Hubert Joly's second chapter in the growth plan he began in 2012, when he began transforming the 51-year-old company by zeroing in on the challenge of showrooming and opportunity in e-commerce. Joly said he is shifting focus after addressing more immediate problems, such as slowing sales, in the business over the past five years. "We've taken the time to look at the strategic landscape. And we think that we are operating in a very attractive environment that's full of growth opportunities," Joly said. The new phase involves less cost-cutting and a focus on establishing Best Buy as a smart home market leader and by rolling out more customer advisory services.
  • Focus on Smart Home:  Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly discussed the Home Advisor program in 2017, telling analysts, "Our In-Home Advisors are professional sales consultants with broad product knowledge.  They provide free consultations and serve as the single point of contact covering all technology needs across all vendors.  In other words, they can help you design and put in place a great entertainment system, help you pick out your appliances for a kitchen remodel, or help you stream music and content across your home without annoying buffering issues."  He said that after testing the program in a number of cities over the last 18 months, the company has decided to roll it out nationally.  "We’re very focused on the smart home as a key part of our Best Buy 2020 strategy, and we will continue to enhance this category across our stores and website this year. For example, to demonstrate what is possible with voice technology, we’re bringing new Alexa and Google Assistant experiences to 700 stores nationwide in collaboration with Amazon and Google. These enhanced experiences are unique to Best Buy and show how you can completely use voice technology. Specially trained Blue Shirts are on hand to provide advice and of course our Geek Squad agents can help install, set up and support the products."  Joly said he expects the rollout to be complete by the end of the third quarter, adding that Best Buy will continue to work on a number of other initiatives around tech support, smart home, mobile, and appliances.  Later in the call, he said the company made large investments in training the advisors and implementing a new customer relationship management system to help them be successful.

Biographical Highlights

  • Born circa 1970.
  • Tilzer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Quantitative Economics from Tufts University in 1992.
  • He went on to earn an MBA in Strategic Management and Marketing from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1999.
  • Tilzer was a Business and Information Technology Consultant at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) from 1992 to 2002.
  • From 2002 to 2006 he was Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, at Linens’n Things.
  • Tilzer joined Staples Inc. in 2007 and over the next six years held the following positions:
    • Vice President, Strategy, North American Retail, Technology Business Development (2007 - 2008)
    • VP, Strategy, North American Delivery (2008 - 2010)
    • SVP, Global eCommerce (2010 - 2013)
  • From 2013 to 2018, Tilzer served as SVP and Chief Digital Officer at CVS Health.
  • In May 2018, he was named Chief Digital and Technology Officer of Best Buy Co., Inc.

Other Boards and Organizations

  • Member, Board of Directors, Signet Jewelers Ltd. (2017-Present)

Contact Information

7601 Penn Ave.,
South Richfield, MN, 55423
United States


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Personal Interests

  • Cycling
  • Baseball