GameStop just made its third hire from Amazon as the game retailer continues poaching new executives from the tech giant

gamestop store ps5
  • GameStop is reshaping its executive suite around former Amazon leaders.
  • The company’s latest hire is Elliott Wilke, who will serve as chief growth officer at GameStop.
  • Chewy cofounder and former CEO Ryan Cohen is leading a committee overseeing the changes at GameStop.
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Yet another former Amazon leader is joining GameStop’s rapidly changing C-suite: Elliott Wilke will serve as the company’s new chief growth officer starting in April.

Wilke, who oversaw a variety of initiatives at Amazon, joins former Amazon fulfillment director Jenna Owens (COO) and former Amazon Web Services engineering lead Matt Francis (CTO) on GameStop’s executive team.

The executive shakeup at the ailing video game retailer comes amid a company-wide “transformation” overseen by board member and activist investor Ryan Cohen.

After taking a 12.9% stake last year through his investment firm RC Ventures, Cohen has made major changes at GameStop. First, he oversaw a string of C-suite departures and hirings. Then, he was appointed leader of a new committee overseeing a company-wide “transformation.”

That transformation has led to major changes in the company’s executive suite and its board.

CEO George Sherman is the only remaining board member from before Cohen got involved with the company. Jim Bell, the company’s CFO, is said to have been pushed to resign by the company’s board. Soon after, CCO Frank Hamlin resigned.

Similarly, the board has seen major changes – Cohen and two of his former colleagues from Chewy, the company he cofounded and ran, occupy three of the board’s five seats.

Ryan Cohen - Chewy
Ryan Cohen.

Alongside the hiring of Wilke, GameStop announced two additional hires from Cohen’s former company: The former Chewy VPs of merchandising, Tom Petersen, and marketing, Andrea Wolfe, are joining GameStop in similar roles.

Cohen himself has kept quiet across the last several months, but he’s taken to Twitter to share GIFs and images. His most recent tweet is a GIF from the movie “Ted,” of the titular character smoking a bong. On the most recent GameStop earnings call, Cohen did not appear.

Representatives for Cohen did not respond to requests for comment as of publishing.

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The pandemic has been especially brutal for women striving to be executives

woman giving presentation

A new report on women and leadership from IBM published on International Women’s Day shows that there has been no change in the number of women in top executive positions, and some leadership roles have even seen a decline.

The new report looks at women in the corporate pipeline, estimating the share of women in positions at different career levels. The analysis covers 10 industries, like healthcare and retail, from nine different countries or regions. 

Women are already underrepresented in various corporate leadership positions, and it seems like representation is becoming worse based on the new report.

“There are fewer women in the pipeline today than in 2019, a situation made worse by the pandemic,” IBM wrote in the report. In the US, around 2.3 million women who are at least 20 years old have left the workforce since February 2020, compared to around 1.8 million men, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

IBM’s report shows that there was no change in the share of women who were part of the C-suite and executive board positions in 2019, when IBM first conducted this survey, and in 2021. Additionally, the share of women has decreased in other positions, from junior professionals to senior vice presidents:

Senior vice presidents and both middle and senior managers saw the largest percentage-point declines between 2019 and 2021. 

Interestingly, the number in the top two leadership positions saw no change despite “national mandates in a growing list of countries that includes Norway, Spain, France, Iceland, and Germany.” These requirements include a certain number of women be part of boards, according to a NPR article cited by the report. 

Similarly, according to a report from FactSet, a large share of women in top management positions are concentrated in human resources and chief administrative roles, while only 5.5% of CEOs among the 3,000 large US companies in the analysis were women.

Among the 429 organizations included in both the 2019 and 2021 IBM studies, the share of respondents who said they agree with the statement “we ensure high-performing women receive promotions as often as high-performing men” decreased while those who responded neutral, or neither agreeing nor disagreeing, increased. 

The report notes that although workplaces are implementing more programs to help address the issue of inequity for women, companies can do more to really address the underlying issues, such as creating “personalized development plans” and making visible commitments.

Only 1 in 4 organizations said advancing women is a top 10 business priority, and fewer respondents this year compared to 2019 said “they expected their organizations would significantly improve gender parity over the next 5 years.”

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