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GameStop CEO gets a $179 million present for leaving

GameStop Stocks have soared because of Reddit

GameStop CEO George Sherman has been with the company for only a very short time. The revolving door style turnover at the retail giant isn’t just affecting stores, it also affects the C-level staff. Sherman joined the company in 2019, he became CEO of GameStop Corp. on April 15, 2019. The stock closed at $8.94 per share that day. Since then, that share price been both a boon and curse for the retailer. The retailer has not had a good few years in many respects.

The company has been having a major uphill battle trying to combat both retail-killer Amazon and the encroachment of digital distribution. GameStop has been losing money for some time, leading to the CEO eventually resigning earlier in 2020. He will remain in place until July 31 as the company works to transition into a more online-focused presence.

But it’s not just GameStop having issues. EB Games in Australia closed 19 stores a while back, and other gaming retailers followed suit.

Years of losses began to pile on, causing a crash worse than many could have predicted. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a string of controversies as the retailer tried to force its way into remaining open. GameStop even went so far as to self-label as “essential”. Add into that shipping issues leading to angry customers, and things aren’t looking good. This was all as retail sales sagged, causing millions in losses for the company.

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The company traded at an all-time low of $3.21 in August 2019. That fortune turned around by a huge matter of coincidence. The massive shorting of GameStop stock led to the phenomenon of a “short squeeze” that itself caused a major explosion in stock prices. And it turns out that GameStop CEO George Sherman benefited from it pretty massively. The $179 million is largely thanks to the massive boom in stock trading against the retail games giant.

A spokesman at Grapevine, Texas-based GameStop declined to comment. Sherman did not respond to requests for comment. Cohen, GameStop’s largest shareholder with a 13% stake, could not be reached for comment.

The massive amount of the payout eclipses many other huge payoffs. ViacomCBS Inc CEO Joseph Ianniello was given $112.9 million in realized pay in 2019. So seeing a failing company give out such a huge bonus is just insulting. That’s because other GameStop employees won’t see any benefit from this change. There’s no likelihood the employees will see more hours or pay, which would have been nice to see. It would have certainly been better than paying another rich C-level employee even more cash.

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