2011 Hall of Fame: Dennis May, CEO, hhgregg
For most companies, searching for the right CEO is one of the toughest challenges they face. The task gets even tougher for public companies with an extremely aggressive growth strategy. But for Jerry Throgmartin and the board at hhgregg, the choice of Dennis May was a no-brainer.
"Over the 10 years he was here he embraced and perpetuated our culture. He knew the business inside and out. He was ready," said Throgmartin, hhgregg's former CEO and current executive chairman of the board, adding that May is the first person outside of his family to hold the title. "The decision was easy."
May, 42, came to hhgregg in 1999 when the company acquired Sun TV & Appliance. He had spent almost all of his career at Sun, steadily rising through ranks to vice president of marketing, executive vice president and COO. At the time of the acquisition, Sun TV was the bigger of the two companies.
"I was brought to [hhgregg] to help grow it," he said, adding that hhgregg was a slow-growth company at the time, opening about one store in its home state of Indiana every five years. "Our expectations were that we could grow the company and expand. That [successful growth] has exceeded our expectations. The business model has been proven successful even in down times…and one that has translated well in different states."