GameStop Stock Soars After CFO Resigns

Jim Bell reportedly was forced to resign as part of a push by activist investor Ryan Cohen to "reshape the ailing retailer.”
Matthew HellerFebruary 24, 2021

GameStop shares soared again on Wednesday after the troubled retailer said CFO Jim Bell is resigning after less than two years of trying to help guide it out of dire financial straits.

The announcement of Bell’s departure came about a month after a trading frenzy fueled by retail investors sent GameStop’s stock on a Wall Street rollercoaster ride.

Bell will step down on March 26 and GameStop has launched a search for a replacement with “the capabilities and qualifications to help accelerate GameStop’s transformation,” the company said in a news release.

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Business Insider reported, however, that Bell “was forced to resign by the board as part of a push by Ryan Cohen, an activist investor and new board member, to reshape the ailing retailer.”

A person familiar with the decision told Business Insider that the board “lost faith” in Bell and began reexamining his role after Cohen criticized GameStop’s executive team, led by CEO George Sherman, in a letter to the board in November.

“We have explained to Mr. Sherman and the board that GameStop has the ability to pivot toward becoming a technology-driven business that excels in the gaming and digital experience worlds,” Cohen wrote. “But this pivot requires the type of strategic vision that has not yet taken hold in the C-suite or boardroom.”

In extended trading Wednesday, GameStop shares jumped 84.4% to $169.10, adding to the 103.9% gain during the regular session.

“Investors tend to fret when CFOs move on but that’s an overblown concern here,” The Motley Fool said. “GameStop has done nothing but put up unimpressive financials over the past few years.”

According to Business Insider, “Bell oversaw GameStop’s financials during an especially bizarre period of the company’s long history: From historically low stock values in much of 2019 and 2020 to the explosive bubble of early 2021, and throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”

GameStop unveiled a three-point plan in 2019 to revive a business battered by the rise of digital gaming. “There’s still time for GameStop to reinvent itself, but it’s been burned in the past by trying to embrace digital delivery,” The Motley Fool said.