Meme stock king Ryan Cohen is taking over Gamestop.
The Chewy founder, who already serves as chairman of the board and owns about 12% of the company’s stock, has been named president and CEO of the video game retailer. The company has been without a CEO since firing former Amazon executive Matt Furlong in June.
Cohen will not receive a salary for the role.
Cohen has been seeking to revive the once-dominant brand since 2021, when he ousted GameStop’s executive team and assumed the role of chairman. He pushed the company to embrace e-commerce and launch an NFT marketplace, although neither effort met with much success.He has been criticized by some investors (and analysts) for not announcing a substantive turnaround plan after taking control of the company for nearly two years
His efforts were not entirely unsuccessful. GameStop earlier this month reported higher quarterly sales but smaller losses. Investors initially welcomed the news that Cohen would take full charge of the company. The company’s shares soared 9% on the news, but gave up most of those gains in early trading Thursday.
Analysts were unimpressed by the news.
“Mr. Cohen’s board of directors was hand-picked (mostly by Chewy associates), suggesting his appointment was more of a crowning of his followers,” Wedbush’s Michael Pachter said in a note to investors the report reads. “We continue to believe GameStop is doomed as declining physical software sales and the shift in sales toward subscriptions and digital downloads seal its fate.”
Of course, GameStop was the original meme stock and is still popular among members of the Reddit r/wallstreetbets community. At the beginning of 2021, the stock was trading at less than $20, eventually surging to $344. (The stock has risen more than 500% since the rally began, returning to the Fortune 500 in 2021.)
Cohen was also an investor in Bed Bath & Beyond, making the retailer a popular stock, but angered investors last year by completely withdrawing his position days after indicating in a regulatory filing that he would stay with the company for the long term. . This has led some investors to call for an SEC investigation into Cohen’s conduct, with some fearing that Cohen may have manipulated the market through his trading.