GameStop Corp. appointed billionaire Ryan Cohen as chief executive officer, filling a post that’s been empty since the company fired its previous CEO in June.
(Bloomberg) — GameStop Corp. appointed billionaire Ryan Cohen as chief executive officer, filling a post that’s been empty since the company fired its previous CEO in June.
Cohen, who was already executive chairman and the company’s largest investor, will start immediately and won’t receive compensation, the company said in a regulatory filing Thursday. He’ll also serve as chairman and president, and continue to engage in business pursuits outside of GameStop.
The struggling chain has closed over 1,000 stores in recent years, nearly a fifth of the total. Sales of game CDs have suffered amid a shift to online purchases. GameStop’s software sales in the latest fiscal year were almost 40% lower than 2019.
Cohen, who co-founded online pet food retailer Chewy.com, disclosed a large stake in GameStop in 2020. He immediately began pushing for a stronger online presence, an effort that included hiring executives from Amazon.com Inc. He holds about 12% of the stock, according to a recent filing.
GameStop gained notoriety as a “meme stock” when investors on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum helped drive huge swings in the stock, sending it up more than 1,600% in January 2021.
Since then, the shares have come down, and the retailer has been struggling with management turnover and customers’ continued shift away from buying games in stores. The battle between hedge funds and small investors in the stock is the subject of a film, Dumb Money, in theaters now.
Read More: How WallStreetBets Pushed GameStop Shares to the Moon
The shares were down about 1% to $16.99 as of 1:23 p.m. in New York. The company has a market value of roughly $5.1 billion, less than a quarter of its peak in 2021.
Cohen has overseen a number of executive shakeups. The company ousted CEO Matt Furlong in June, after two years in the role. Chief Financial Officer Diana Saadeh-Jajeh also resigned, as of last month.
A strategy clash created challenges as employees wondered whether the e-commerce executives’ skills mapped onto a brick-and-mortar business, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg in 2022. GameStop also pushed into digital assets including NFTs — an initiative the company backed away from this year due to regulatory uncertainty in the cryptocurrency market.
(Updates with additional details throughout)
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