Global Stock Market

GameStop CFO Resigns Weeks After Inventory-Market Frenzy

GameStop Corp.’s

finance chief is leaving weeks after a social-media-led frenzy despatched the corporate’s share value hovering, just for it to fall afterward.

The Grapevine, Texas-based videogame retailer stated

Jim Bell

will resign as govt vice chairman and chief monetary officer March 26. He was appointed in June 2019.

GameStop, which additionally sells shopper electronics and gaming merchandise, didn’t present a cause for Mr. Bell’s departure however lauded “his important contributions and management, together with his efforts over the previous 12 months through the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The corporate stated it has launched the seek for a successor “to assist speed up the corporate’s transformation.” It plans to nominate Chief Accounting Officer Diana Jajeh to the function of interim CFO if it doesn’t discover a everlasting alternative for Mr. Bell by the point he leaves.

GameStop final 12 months got here beneath stress from Chewy Inc. co-founder

Ryan Cohen,

who holds a virtually 13% stake via his funding agency RC Ventures LLC. RC Ventures in November despatched a letter to GameStop’s board urging it to conduct a strategic evaluation of the enterprise and scale back its reliance on bodily retail, specializing in e-commerce as an alternative.

GameStop and RC Ventures in January agreed that Mr. Cohen, Chewy’s former Chief Working Officer

Alan Attal

and former Chewy CFO

Jim Grube

would take board seats. The businesses additionally agreed to standstill provisions till the annual basic assembly in 2022.

Jim Bell’s resignation takes impact March 26.



Photograph:

Gamestop

Mr. Bell’s departure, which wasn’t associated to a disagreement with the corporate or its operations, insurance policies or practices, got here shortly after GameStop earlier this month introduced a number of new hires to its management crew. Amongst these is Matt Francis, a former

Amazon.com Inc.

govt who will tackle the newly created function of chief expertise officer.

GameStop ought to think about a CFO with expertise working at a bricks-and-mortar retailer with a robust e-commerce operation to assist develop a bigger digital presence, stated Michael Pachter, a analysis analyst at financial-services agency Wedbush Securities Inc. The corporate at the moment has over 5,000 bodily shops, it stated in a launch on Tuesday.

It is going to doubtless search for a finance chief with extra operational experience than monetary abilities as RC Ventures pushes for a significant shift right into a extra digital operation, stated Joseph Feldman, a senior managing director at Telsey Advisory Group, an funding financial institution.

GameStop was one of many firms whose inventory skyrocketed in late January, pushed by posts on Reddit and different social-media websites. Its share value rose from about $20 to $483 over two weeks in January as particular person buyers inspired one another on-line to purchase the inventory and squeeze out hedge funds that had wager its value would fall.

U.S. regulators are investigating whether or not there was any market manipulation or different forms of prison misconduct that fueled the speedy rise in GameStop’s and different shares.

GameStop’s shares rose about 13% Monday after Keith Gill, one of many firm’s buyers who rose to prominence in current weeks, disclosed a bigger stake on Friday. On Tuesday, GameStop shares closed at $44.97, down 2.2% on the day.

Earlier than becoming a member of GameStop, Mr. Bell from 2016 to March 2019 served as CFO and interim chief govt of Wok Holdings Inc., the mother or father firm of restaurant companies together with P.F. Chang’s and True Meals Kitchen. Earlier roles throughout his profession included govt vice chairman and CFO at RLH Corp., a hospitality firm, and CEO of Coldwater Creek Inc., a clothes retailer.

Mr. Bell didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Write to Nina Trentmann at Nina.Trentmann@wsj.com and Mark Maurer at mark.maurer@wsj.com

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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