In a strategic move to revamp its leadership, GameStop announced on Thursday that billionaire activist investor Ryan Cohen would immediately assume the roles of Chief Executive Officer, Chairman, and President. A unanimous decision by GameStop’s board, with Cohen abstaining, led to his appointment as the video game retailer’s top executive. Notably, Cohen, the founder of Chewy and a prominent figure in meme stock culture, will forgo any salary for his new responsibilities.
Significant Step for Cohen
The decision marks a significant shift for Cohen, who had previously held the position of Executive Chairman. He will step down from this role as part of the recent appointment, according to a securities filing. company had fired CEO Matthew Furlong three months prior, making Cohen the Executive Chairman and appointing Mark Robinson as the “Principal Executive Officer” and General Manager. The circumstances surrounding Furlong’s departure were not disclosed, but it followed the company’s first quarterly profit in two years under his leadership.
The news release emphasized that Cohen would not receive any compensation for his multifaceted role at GameStop. The company also witnessed the resignation of CFO Diana Saadeh-Jajeh several weeks after Furlong’s dismissal.
Cohen’s First Connection with GameStop
Ryan Cohen, known as the “king” of meme stocks, first invested in GameStop in 2020 and later joined the board in 2021 during the height of the meme stock phenomenon. As of late June, Cohen’s firm RC Ventures held the position of GameStop’s largest shareholder, with a 12.09% stake, according to FactSet.
Despite Cohen’s involvement, GameStop has faced challenges in its turnaround efforts, with limited signs of improvement. The company recently reported its second-quarter financial results, revealing a narrower loss compared to the previous year and a slight increase in revenue. This leadership transition comes as GameStop navigates a rapidly evolving industry landscape and seeks to adapt to changing market dynamics.
With Cohen taking on the additional role of Principal Executive Officer from Robinson, who had served as General Counsel and Secretary, the move signals a comprehensive reshaping of the company’s leadership structure. The decision to forgo a salary underscores Cohen’s commitment to steering GameStop through a transformative phase as the video game retailer endeavors to secure a more stable and prosperous future. As the company undergoes these changes, industry observers are keenly watching for signs of a sustained turnaround under Cohen’s leadership.