(Bloomberg)—GameStop Corp. named former Amazon.com Inc. executive Elliott Wilke as its chief growth officer, the latest in a string of senior executive appointments, and part of a corporate overhaul by activist investor and board member Ryan Cohen.
In addition to Wilke, GameStop also named Andrea Wolfe as vice president of brand development and Tom Petersen as vice president of merchandising to help implement Cohen’s strategy of turning the brick-and-mortar chain into an ecommerce powerhouse. GameStop is No. 34 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.
Wilke spent the past seven years at Amazon (No. 1), and will start on April 5, while Wolfe and Petersen were previously at Chewy Inc. (owned by No. 19 PetSmart Inc.) and joined the company effective Monday. Cohen founded web-only pet brand Chewy.
The move makes it appear that Cohen is acting as CEO, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said by email. “It is impossible to believe that George [Sherman] would have made these decisions without prompting from Cohen.”
Prior to Tuesday’s appointments, Cohen had brought in a number of new executives, including a chief technology officer and Chewy’s former vice president of customer care. GameStop’s chief financial officer was pushed out last month as part of the revamp, and was followed last week by another senior executive.
GameStop, based in the Dallas suburbs, has suffered with the video-game industry’s shift to online distribution. With gamers downloading more and more—or at least ordering software and gear via ecommerce—there’s less reason to make a trip to a physical store. Total sales for the gaming chain declined 21.3% last year. However, online sales rose 191.3% as shoppers shifted would-be store sales to online channels. Ecommerce made up 34% of GameStop’s total sales compared to 12% last year, the retailer reported. .
Last week, the roller-coaster stock championed by Reddit-based traders, reported disappointing fourth-quarter earnings and hinted at the possibility it may sell additional shares to take advantage of soaring demand.
GameStop trading has been up and down over the past five weeks as the retail darling saw a second wave of euphoria from amateur investors. The stock soared through the first ten days of March before experiencing bouts of heightened volatility as Reddit-armed retail traders sparred with short sellers.
In other personnel news:
- Cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty (No. 67) named Dave Kimbell its new CEO earlier last month. Kimbell, formerly president of the company, replaces Mary Dillon, who is now the executive chair. Dillon served as CEO for nearly eight years, where she oversaw the rollout of web-based features like GlamLab and advanced loyalty programs that drive sales.
- Athletic brand Nike Inc. (No. 24) has a new head of North American operations this month after the previous executive left amid a sneaker reselling scandal. Sarah Mensah is taking over as vice president and general manager of Nike’s North American operations from Ann Hebert, whose son Joe Hebert made a living as a sneaker reseller. Known as “West Coast Joe,” he received information from his mother that he used in his business, where he sold thousands of dollars of hard-to-find shoes every month.
- iPhone maker Apple Inc. (No. 2) lost a key staff member last month. Ron Okamoto retired from his position as vice president of developer relations, where he helped oversee the app-review process and policies, distribution of tools to build and sell apps, forums and technical developer support, the annual Worldwide Developer Conference, awards for developers, and developer communications. Apple, which has increasingly relied on revenue from its App Store, has been under scrutiny from antitrust regulators and some developers over fees and complex rules. Apple recently sliced its revenue share from app purchases to 15% from 30% for developers who make less than $1 million in annual revenue. Susan Prescott, an Apple marketing exec, is replacing Okamoto.