(Reuters) -GameStop on Thursday named billionaire Ryan Cohen as its CEO and chairman on Thursday, tightening the activist investor’s grip on the ailing brick-and-mortar videogame retailer that he intends to turn around.
Shares of the company jumped 10% in premarket trading. The stock has been on a roller-coaster ride since 2021 when retail investors drove up its price in an attempt to prove that bets by hedge funds on GameStop’s demise were wrong.
Cohen is GameStop’s largest investor and has been on the board for more than two years. He became executive chairman in June after former CEO Matt Furlong was ousted.
Gamestop said he will relinquish that title and will not receive any compensation for his new roles.
Cohen arrived at GameStop after building online pet products retailer Chewy into a powerhouse that he sold for $3.5 billion in 2017.
The billionaire had initially tried to steer GameStop aggressively toward a more online-focused model as the chain, dependent on physical stores, looked to revive its business.
But he has backtracked on some of those e-commerce plans, relying more on GameStop’s brick-and-mortar stores and using them as places where customers can pick up online orders.
The company’s quarterly earnings earlier this month showed some signs that the strategy was working as strong demand for videogames, collectibles and consoles helped GameStop post a smaller-than-expected loss and revenue that beat estimates.
Still, there have been concerns among analysts about the slow pace of change at GameStop and Cohen’s mixed record as an activist investor at the companies he has targeted, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Nordstrom.
The company has seen several executive departures in recent years, with former chief operating officer Jenna Owens leaving in October 2021 just seven months after joining.
Former finance chief Michael Recupero, who was hired at the same time as Furlong was brought in, was terminated last year.
The video-game retailer’s shares have lost more than 80% of their value since the record high in 2021, including a 7% decline this year.
(Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)