- GameStop announced the “termination of the employment” of CFO Michael Recupero, just a year after the Amazon veteran joined the video game retailer to take the finance helm, according to a company release Thursday.
- The Grapevine, Texas-based company appointed Diana Saadeh-Jajeh as CFO, effective immediately. Saadeh-Jajeh most recently served as the company's chief accounting officer and previously held the CFO role on an interim basis in 2021.
- The CFO shakeup could be a signal that management’s effort to “Amazon-ify” GameStop isn’t working, according to Josh Crist, co-managing partner of executive search firm Crist|Kolder Associates. “They have been trying to shift to an e-commerce model but their physical real estate footprint won’t allow for it. This says to me that they are realizing that shift is impossible and are moving to try to maximize value in the current model,” Crist wrote in an email Friday.
Recupero was part of a wave of former Amazon executives that have swept into GameStop. Last year the company announced that Matt Furlong, who had been at Amazon for nearly nine years, would start as CEO in June of 2021 and that Recupero, who had spent nearly 20 years leading finance at various Amazon divisions, would take GameStop’s CFO position in July of 2021. The hirings dovetailed with a push by the video retailer to revitalize its business with a renewed focus on digital sales and a move away from brick-and-mortar stores.
The company’s new pick for CFO, Saadeh-Jajeh, held the interim CFO and CAO posts at GameStop for about five months, according to her LinkedIn account, following the departure of Jim Bell who was pushed out in March of 2021. At that time the company said it had initiated a search for candidates to replace Bell who would have capabilities and qualifications to help accelerate GameStop’s transformation.
Saadeh-Jajeh, who joined GameStop as CAO in 2020, has more than two decades of experience as an auditor, controller and corporate finance executive. Since beginning her career as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers, she has held senior finance roles at Visa, JUUL Labs and e.l.f. Cosmetics.
Her new starting base annual salary will be $200,000, according to an offer letter outlining the terms of Saadeh-Jajeh’s promotion to CFO included in a July 7 company filing. She will also continue to be eligible for a “transformation bonus” in an aggregate amount of $1.965 million to be paid in bi-weekly installments over a two year period which began on Aug. 1, 2021, according to the filing.
The CFO news comes amid continued turmoil around the company and media reports that it is among a growing number of firms moving to layoffs. GameStop’s cuts follow the hiring of more than 600 people this year and last, according to a July 7 report in The Wall Street Journal citing an internal memo obtained by CFO Journal.
GameStop is also among the most well known companies with what analysts have dubbed “meme stocks,” meaning shares with volatility driven by social media activism. GameStop shares rose about 15% Thursday to close at $135.12 following news Wednesday that its board approved a four-for-one stock split in the form of a dividend. In midday trading Friday shares were down about 5% to $127.90 in the wake of the news of the layoffs and the CFO’s ousting.
GameStop did not respond to requests for comment.