GameStop CFO ousted in reshuffle

Topline

GameStop chief financial officer Jim Bell is stepping down in March, the company announced on Tuesday, after a rollercoaster month where the company’s shares became the focal point of the meme stock mania fueled by Reddit, but a source close of the situation tells Forbes that Bell was kicked out because the board lost faith in its ability to help the company focus on e-commerce.

Highlights

GameStop didn’t give a reason for Bell’s departure, whose last day will be March 26, but in an SEC filing it said Bell’s resignation was “not because of a disagreement with the company on any matter relating to operations, company policies or practices, including accounting principles and practices.

Bell joined GameStop in 2019 as the company struggled with rising online purchases and sales of digital video games, but GameStop’s largest shareholder, Ryan Cohen, criticized the company’s management for not not having embraced the digital economy with enough urgency.

GameStop shares fell more than 3% in after-hours trading following the announcement.

GameStop did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.

Key Context

Cohen, the former CEO of pet food giant Chewy, got results for his activism after becoming GameStop’s largest shareholder over the summer. In January, the company gave its investment firm, RC Ventures, three seats on the 10-member board. Earlier this month, he hired a former Cohen’s assistant at Chewy, Kelli Durkin, as vice president of customer service, as well as Amazon Web Services veterinarian Matt Francis, as director of technology, and former Walmart and Amazon executive Josh Krueger as vice president of fulfillment. Cohen wants GameStop to evolve into a technology company that provides digital experiences for gamers rather than a video game retailer with a physical footprint.

Tangent

GameStop’s struggles were the reason short-sellers, including hedge fund Melvin Capital, shorted the company’s stock, leading to a wild standoff with retail investors on forums like r /WallStreetBets from Reddit. Traders pushed GameStop’s stock price to $347.51 in late January; it has since fallen to around $45.

To monitor

GameStop is looking for a replacement, but if no one can be found by March 26, Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer Diana Jajeh will be named interim CFO.

Helen D. Jessen