Image Credit: Jenny Nilsson.
The legacy video game retailer has capitalized on the surge of attention following its meme stock trading moment earlier this year and has been putting its resources into hitting refresh on its leadership team. This has largely been driven by majority stakeholder and soon-to-be chairman Ryan Cohen. Since his arrival to the company in January, he’s been pushing GameStop away from its brick-and-mortar stores and closer towards an e-commerce operation.
It’s no surprise then to see five of the most senior leadership positions -- including the newly announced CEO and CFO -- coming from e-commerce giant Amazon.
We rounded up all the recent hires and departures that have been brewing at GameStop’s Grapevine, Texas headquarters over the past seven months, and spotlighted the Amazon alums trying to turn GameStop upside down.
Ryan Cohen is no stranger to e-commerce. The co-founder and former CEO of online pet store Chewy bought a 12.9% stake in GameStop for $76 million and joined the company’s board in January. Since Cohen joined the board, the company has announced that Chief Customer Officer Frank Hamlin would leave his post on March 31, and Chief Financial Officer Jim Bell will also step down on March 26.
Eight board members have also stepped down. Four of five of the remaining board members are all past employees of Chewy, including Cohen.
In April, GameStop’s current CEO, George Sherman, revealed that he would be stepping away from the company on July 31, the latest executive to leave the retailer since Cohen brought in an almost entirely new board.
On June 9, GameStop announced it would be bringing in both a new CEO and CFO from Amazon.
“These appointments reflect the refreshed board’s focus on building a technology company and investing in growth,” GameStop said in a press release.
Incoming CEO Matt Furlong, who will start on June 21, most recently oversaw Amazon’s Australia business. He previously worked as a Technical Advisor for the head of Amazon’s North America consumer business. Prior to his nine-year tenure at Amazon, Furlong started his career at Procter & Gamble as an Associate Director.
Incoming CTO Mike Recupero officially starts at GameStop on July 12. He has spent the past 17 years at Amazon, where he started his career. At Amazon, Recupero has worked as an analyst, manager and director, before serving as the CFO of the European Consumer business and later, CFO of Prime Video. His most recent role was as CFO of the North American Consumer business.
The first Amazon alum to join the team though was Matt Francis. He joined the company in February as its first-ever CTO. Francis was part of the first wave of hires GameStop made once Cohen joined the board, which also included Kelli Durkin, SVP of Customer Care, and Josh Krueger, VP of Fulfillment.
Francis is an e-commerce and consumer technology veteran that brings more than 20 years of experience to GameStop’s top technology role. Most recently, Francis served as an Engineering Leader at Amazon's cloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services. He has also held senior-level technology roles at QVC and Zulily.
Jenna Owens was next to join the company as COO. When she left Amazon in March, she was working as a Director of Distribution and Multichain Fulfillment. In that role, Owens built out a multidisciplinary team of 200 employees across nearly every division to develop new supply chain capabilities after Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.
Also in March, Elliott Wilke joined the team as Chief Growth Officer. Wilke was most recently working as Director of Amazon Fresh stores but also held several other director roles during his eight-year tenure including Director of Prime Pantry Business and Global Technology and Director of WW Private Brands. Like Furlong, Wilke started his career at P&G, eventually working his way up to Senior Brand Manager of its Gillette brand.
Strategically filling up the C-suite with so many ex-fulfillment directors and e-commerce veterans makes sense if GameStop wants to come close to replicating the well-oiled machine that Amazon has become. But with the volatile way GameStop amassed its latest revenue, investors are keeping a close eye on Cohen and every move the new executive team makes.
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