This week’s change of leadership at Best Buy Europe reflects a shift of focus from strategy to operations as the retailer prepares for a new phase, departing chief executive Scott Wheway claimed.

Wheway, who will continue to work for US giant Best Buy Inc, gave up his European responsibilities on Tuesday, when chief operating officer Andrew Harrison was promoted to president of Best Buy Europe.

Wheway’s departure was the latest among Best Buy Europe’s senior management team in less than a year since the launch of its first big-box store here, in partnership with Carphone Warehouse.

But Wheway said he had joined Best Buy Europe in 2009 to formulate strategy and create a “joined up business” from the constituent parts of the joint venture. He said: “It was always the plan as we moved from strategic to operational [focus] that we would hand over the reins to Andrew.”

He said: “When you’re integrating four businesses into one holistic business it’s inevitable there will be movement of people.”

Some observers have questioned the early success of Best Buy’s big boxes but Wheway said they had performed “broadly as expected” and were an “incredibly important part” of its multichannel approach.

He emphasised the multichannel nature of Best Buy’s model and said: “We’re quite pleased if competitors continue to view us through the narrow lens of big boxes.

“What we’ve been doing is taking the best of Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse’s DNA and using a spread of big-box, smaller stores and multichannel.”

He highlighted the changing nature of electricals retail and Harrison’s understanding of the “connected world”. Wheway said: “Andrew is one of the stars of 21st century retailing.”