GameStop has announced that Jim Bell, the retailer’s chief financial officer, is leaving the company next month. Bell, who is also GameStop’s executive vice president, is set to resign on March 26. The exec’s departure comes amid GameStop’s ongoing financial struggles, resulting from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the surge in digital purchases, and the company’s ongoing losses.
In a statement, GameStop says it is currently looking for a replacement. The company plans to consider both internal and external candidates. If a replacement is not found before Bell leaves, senior vice president and chief accounting officer Diana Jajeh will take over as interim CFO.
According to IGN, Bell will receive a severance of $2.8 million, twice his base salary and target annual bonus, because he resigned for “Good Reason,” according to GameStop’s SEC filings. Bell assumed to role of CFO at GameStop in June 2019, following the departure of COO and CFO Rob Lloyd, who worked for the retailer for 23 years.
Bell’s resignation follows a short squeeze on GameStop’s stock, in which online investors inflated the price of the company’s shares to increase the losses sustained by short-sellers. Prices increased as high as $483 per share within a week but have since fallen to $44 per share. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is currently investigating whether social media unlawfully manipulated GameStop’s share price.
GameStop has reported a $19 million loss in its most recent quarter, even as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the video game industry to record highs. GameStop’s sales have fallen 10 of the last 11 quarters, dropping more than 30 percent per quarter, on average. The most substantial drops occurred in 2020, when the gaming sector grew 26 percent, according to NPD Group, a market research firm.
On the whole, GameStop hasn’t turned a profit since 2017 and has had five chief executives in that time. George Sherman, who formerly headed Advance Auto Parts and Best Buy Services, took over as CEO in April 2019. Since then, the company has shuttered more than 1,000 stores, with plans to close down more in the coming months.
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