GameStop’s share price more than doubled in the final 30 minutes of trading on Wednesday as the buying frenzy that sent the stock skyrocketing in late January found renewed life.
The stock closed 104% higher, at $91.71, following a period in which trading was halted multiple times because of volatility.
GameStop was in focus following the news on Tuesday of Jim Bell’s resignation as the chief financial officer. Sources told Insider on Wednesday that Bell was forced to resign by the company’s board as part of a push by the activist investor and new board member Ryan Cohen to reshape the ailing retailer.
Wednesday’s wild final 30 minutes were reminiscent of the Reddit-driven buying spree that engulfed the stock in late January, pushing it to a dizzying all-time high of $483, up 2,464% year-to-date.
GameStop’s CFO, Jim Bell, may take home about $30 million as he leaves the retailer, Bloomberg reported.
Bell’s contract included severance of $2.8 million, along with a departure award of restricted shares worth about $13 million, according to Bloomberg. Much of the rest of the package would be in equity grants tied to company performance over the next few years, the report said.
The company on Tuesday announced Bell’s departure, saying in a press release he would resign on March 26. Diana Jajeh, senior vice president and chief accounting officer, will serve as interim chief financial officer while the company searches for a permanent replacement.
The company said it’s seeking a chief financial officer with “the capabilities and qualifications to help accelerate GameStop’s transformation.”
Bell was appointed to the chief financial position at GameStop in July 2019, less than two years ago. He had previously been CFO and interim CEO at Wok Holdings, parent company of P.F. Chang’s, according to his company profile.
In 2020, activist investor Ryan Cohen bought a stake in GameStop, and took a seat on the company’s board. Cohen, a co-founder of internet retailer Chewy, also installed two of his former Chewy lieutenants on the GameStop board.
In November 2020, Cohen wrote a letter to the company’s executive team, pushing for the company to become a “technology-driven business.” Cohen wrote: “But this pivot requires the type of strategic vision that has not yet taken hold in the c-suite or boardroom.”
Bell’s equity package has benefited from the recent spikes in GameStop stock, which was pushed higher in an epic struggle between retail investors and short sellers. When Bell joined GameStop, the company’s stock price hovered around $5.30 per share. In January, it spiked briefly to $483 per share, although it settled back into the range of $40 to $50 per share.
Depending on the company’s future performance, Bell could receive about 300,000 shares in the coming years, depending on how the company does, Bloomberg reported. Those shares were worth about $13.4 million based on Monday’s $44.97 closing price of GameStop shares.