The revolving door of GameStop CEOs continued June 5, when the video game retailer’s board terminated chief executive Matthew Furlong without cause and elected board chair Ryan Cohen, its top shareholder, as executive chairman.
Cohen will oversee management, assume responsibility for capital allocation, and evaluate potential investments and acquisitions for the Grapevine-based company, which has churned through five CEOs in the last five years.
In a regulatory filing, GameStop said, “We believe the combination of these efforts to stabilize and optimize our core business and achieve sustained profitability while also focusing on capital allocation under Mr. Cohen’s leadership will further unlock long-term value creation for our stockholders.”
Furlong, previously an executive at Amazon.com, had been hand-picked by Cohen in June 2021 to direct a digital transformation at GameStop, as physical game sales declined and downloadable gaming boomed.
But the company recently lost more than $1 billion in market value, according to Reuters, and watched as its stock plunged nearly 80% from its 2021 peak of more than $120 per share.
Last March, Cohen’s venture capital firm RC Ventures upped its stake in GameStop from 10% to 11.9%. At the time, the Dallas Morning News put the stake’s size at 9.1 million shares, worth more than $86 million.
Memes and management changes
Cohen, a billionaire and activist investor who co-founded Chewy.com, was elected GameStop’s board chairman in June 2021. That was not long after retail investors took to a Reddit forum and outsmarted short sellers who’d betted against GameStop, turning it into the first meme stock.
Besides Furlong, Cohen also brought in several other Amazon executives who’ve either left GameStop or were fired.
Shares of GameStop fell nearly 20% Thursday, to $21.44, following news of Furlong’s termination. By mid-afternoon Friday the stock was trading in the $22.50 range.
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