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Exclusive: GameStop launches search for new CEO

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

(Reuters) – GameStop Corp. is looking for a new CEO to replace George Sherman as it is a brick-and-mortar video game retailer for an e-commerce company, said three people familiar with the matter on Monday.

It would be the biggest shakeup at GameStop since Ryan Cohen, co-founder and former CEO of online company with pet Chewy Inc, joined the board in January. Its stock has risen nearly 4,000% from a year ago after it became the poster child for retailers betting on so-called “meme” stocks.

GameStop’s board is working with an executive headhunter on the CEO search, sources said, requesting anonymity because the case is confidential.

Several GameStop board members are involved in the search and have spoken to potential candidates from the gaming industry as well as e-commerce and the technology sector, the sources said.

A spokesman for GameStop declined to comment.

GameStop shares traded down 1

2% to $ 138.75 in afternoon trading on Monday, giving the company a market value of approx. $ 10 billion.

The replacement of CEO is the latest in a series of changes that Cohen has been pursuing since joining GameStop. Former Chief Financial Officer Jim Bell and Chief Customer Officer Frank Hamlin are among the senior executives who have left the company in recent weeks.

George Sherman, who has been CEO since April 2019, has been credited internally with cutting costs and managing GameStop through the COVID-19 pandemic that led to many retailers going out of business.

But Cohen and other GameStop board members see Sherman’s 25 years of experience with primarily brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Advance Auto Parts Inc and Home Depot Inc., as less relevant to the digital transformation they have embarked on as a technology company.

Cohen, who was named GameStop’s board chairman last week, seeks to make the company the online choice of video game fans, just as Chewy won pet lovers.

He pushed for a number of hires at GameStop, including Elliott Wilke as Chief Growth Officer, Jenna Owens as Chief Operating Officer and Matt Francis as Chief Technology Officer. All three previously worked for Amazon.com Inc.

Cohen also indicted people from Chewy, including Andrea Wolfe as vice president of brand development, Neda Pacifico as senior vice president of e-commerce and Kelli Durkin as senior vice president of customer care.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; editing by Dan Grebler)

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