Gamestop – GameStop’s Power Player: How Outsider Ryan Cohen Wrested Control
It took just a few months for a 36-year-old entrepreneur to take over America’s most talked-about company—and make $1 billion for himself in the process.
Ryan Cohen rose to become chairman of GameStop Corp. with the verve of an old-school corporate raider. Wielding little more than a minority stake and a sharp tongue, Mr. Cohen pushed out GameStop’s executive team and installed longtime associates on the company’s board. The tactics made the co-founder of online pet store Chewy Inc. a favorite of the individual investors who sent GameStop’s stock on a roller coaster this year; they call him “Papa Cohen.”
If Mr. Cohen has made winning look easy thus far, it is far from clear what comes next. From his perch as chairman, he has to revamp GameStop’s business, if only to justify the stock’s remarkable run. The stock closed Wednesday around $159 per share, up more than eightfold this year, but far below the high of $483 it touched in January. The company has reported annual losses for three consecutive years.
Save for pledging to increase digital sales, Mr. Cohen is vague on his long-term vision for the company, which mostly sells videogames and related products at its roughly 4,700 stores world-wide. At a June shareholder meeting, he deflected specific questions, saying he was wary of providing hints to competitors.
“We know some people want us to lay out a whole detailed plan,” he said in a live video appearance at the meeting, “but that’s not going to happen.”