The 30-something Cohen consolidates power at GameStop, and the Reddit crowd cheers … but the stock is so-so

GameStop’s army of Reddit traders is ecstatic over the news that Ryan Cohen has been nominated chairman of the bricks-and-mortar videogame retailer, consolidating power for the executive who is seen as crucial to individual investors’ hoped-for turnaround.

Cohen, who retail traders on social media treat reverentially, has been viewed as a sort of messiah in bluejeans amid the crusade to send the value of GameStop
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shares to the moon, while squeezing under foot, the hedge funds who have tried to bet against GameStop’s shares.

The 35-year-old Cohen will succeed Kathy Vrabeck on June 9, the date of company’s annual meeting.

Message boards on Thursday were lit up, reflecting the Reddit crowd’s exuberance:

“CHAIRMAN COHEN!” posted multiple users on Reddit board r/Superstonk, with those messages followed by rocket emojis signifying their belief that Cohen’s new role will take GameStop stock “to the moon.”

For retail traders on social media, Cohen’s leadership role promises greater change for the company.

“DADDY CHAIR COHEN,” posted one Reddit user.

Cohen appeared to appreciate that sentiment, tweeting a photoshopped image of himself as an armchair created earlier in the day by Reddit user “ButtFarm69”:

Cohen joined GameStop’s board earlier this year and immediately began championing a transition to digital sales—an effort that he is currently leading. His pedigree as the co-founder of Chewy Inc.
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is part of the reason that he has drawn such enthusiasm from individual investors. He recently disclosed a 12.9% stake in GameStop via his personal investment arm RC Ventures LLC, according to public documents.

Cohen’s involvement in GameStop also caught the eye of social-media stock guru Keith Gill –aka Roaring Kitty, aka DeepFuckingValue—who posted a bullish and Cohen-centric investment thesis on GameStop that garnered attention and played a key role in January’s manic short squeeze that sent GameStop shares up by more than 1,600% in a matter of days.

Despite the stock coming back to Earth, Cohen appears to have made good on his pledge to give GameStop’s leadership a face-lift. In addition to creating a strategy committee, formed last month to identify ways to accelerate GameStop’s transformation, the company has also brought in senior executives from Chewy and Amazon, and announced the departure of its CFO and chief customer officer.

When Cohen tweeted a picture of his late father with the phrase “Superman lives forever” on Mar 17, he received almost 1,000 replies from users –many of them outspoken GameStop bulls—offering him condolences, with some even speculating that the tweet would push up the stock.

But while Cohen’s coming reign has GameStop bulls thrilled, the stock was trading 1.4% lower Thursday and has been down over 8% so far this week.

A few dyed-in-the-wool GameStop enthusiasts fantasized about the possibility of an even more radical addition to the retailer’s ranks: Gill. That is despite the fact that Roaring Kitty has no prior experience running a billion-dollar corporation.

 
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