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GameStop CFO Resigns Weeks After Stock-Market Frenzy

GameStop CFO Resigns Weeks After Stock-Market Frenzy

GameStop Corp.’s finance chief is leaving weeks after a social-media-led frenzy sent the company’s share price soaring, only for it to fall afterward

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GameStop Corp.’s finance chief is leaving weeks after a social-media-led frenzy sent the company’s share price soaring, only for it to fall afterward.

The Grapevine, Texas-based videogame retailer said Jim Bell will resign as executive vice president and chief financial officer March 26. He was appointed in June 2019.

GameStop, which also sells consumer electronics and gaming merchandise, didn’t provide a reason for Mr. Bell’s departure but lauded “his significant contributions and leadership, including his efforts over the past year during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The company said it has launched the search for a successor. It plans to appoint Chief Accounting Officer Diana Jajeh to the role of interim CFO if it doesn’t find a permanent replacement for Mr. Bell by the time he leaves.

GameStop was one of the companies whose stock skyrocketed in late January, driven by posts on Reddit and other social-media sites. Its share price rose from about $20 to $483 over two weeks in January as individual investors encouraged each other online to buy the stock and squeeze out hedge funds that had bet its price would fall.

U.S. regulators are investigating whether there was any market manipulation or other types of criminal misconduct that fueled the rapid rise in GameStop’s and other stocks.

GameStop’s shares rose about 13% Monday after Keith Gill, one of the company’s investors who rose to prominence in recent weeks, disclosed a larger stake on Friday. On Tuesday, GameStop shares closed at $44.97, down 2.2% on the day.

Before joining GameStop, Mr. Bell from 2016 to March 2019 served as CFO and interim chief executive of Wok Holdings Inc., the parent company of restaurant businesses including P.F. Chang’s and True Food Kitchen. Previous roles during his career included executive vice president and CFO at RLH Corp., a hospitality company, and CEO of Coldwater Creek Inc., a clothing retailer.

GameStop should consider a CFO with experience working at a bricks-and-mortar retailer with a strong e-commerce operation to help develop a larger digital presence, said Michael Pachter, a research analyst at financial-services firm Wedbush Securities Inc.

Mr. Bell didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Write to Nina Trentmann at [email protected]

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

This post first appeared on wsj.com

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