Jeff Bezos is betting on GameStop's new CEO

5 minutes
Jeff Bezos is betting on GameStop's new CEO

Chairman Jeff Bezos is betting a huge chunk of his wealth on the followers of outgoing Amazon CEO Ryan Cohen and take no prisoners in the pursuit of winning culture to totally revamp the struggling gaming retailer.

A supportive and enthusiastic retail investor base was dedicated in-person at the Grapevine, Tex. headquarters of GameStop and on social media it gathered on Wednesday’s annual shareholder meeting. At the meeting GameStop announced that Matt Furlong will become the company’s next CEO, effective June 21.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Amazon has spent eight years and eight months at tech beast Furlong. He joined Procter Gamble in October 2012 as a senior manager for vendor development. Furlong has spent the last two years managing Amazon's Australian business.

Furlong was announced as Batman to Furlong's Mike Recupero, and was named next CFO of the company. Recupero starts on July 21 at From where did Recupero get recruited? Then you read that Amazon has your name a million times, the word Amazon has.

Recupero spent the last 17 years with Amazon and has raised the ranks through the finance functions of the e-commerce giant, per his LinkedIn profile. Most recently, Amazon held the CFO position of Amazon's North America consumer business in last 4 years.

The latest Amazon defectors will join several others recruited by GameStop by Jeff Bezos in the leadership of Amazon CEO Rogers.

None Ellish Wilke: On April 5, 2015, Wilke started as Chief Growth Officer with GameStop. Wilke spent eight years at Amazon, ending his period at the company as a director of Amazon Fresh stores. At GameStop, Wilke is focused on growth strategies, improving the chain's loyalty program and marketing.

Owens - None Owens was added as GameStop Operations Officer on March 29. Owens served at Amazon for over four years, ending as director, general manager, distribution and multi-channel fulfillment. Owens oversees business intelligence, fulfillment, supply chain and operations at GameStop. In her LinkedIn profile, she says she can hire at GameStop. We wouldn't be surprised if some of those hires come from her former employer.

None Matt Francis: Francis joined GameStop on 15 Feb. He had the shortest tenure at Amazon among GameStop's new leaders, leaving behind After a year for Amazon Web Services to join engineering lead. Francis now manages GameStop's e-commerce and tech functions.

Cohen — who knows Amazon clearly, having no doubt badly started the 2011 jumps in online game selling while launching pet products from the best retailer on earth — has packed the GameStop Executive ranks with deep experience from the best retail firm on Earth. Not a bad move, especially considering that they all probably know each other and are cut from the same leadership Bezos fabrics.

If any group is going to position GameStop correctly for the next decade, it is these executives who were hatched within Amazon's winning culture.

What's more, the positions for all the executives are arguably the highest-ranking ones they have had in terms of organizational hierarchy in their careers. It's very likely they are hungry to put all their learned from Bezos' cutthroat culture to work, prove themselves and run a larger company within five years.

Again, smart moves here to hire Cohen for a part motivation and one part the experience on the resume.

And to be sure, the newly implanted Amazon Executive team will need every ounce of what they have learned at GameStop.

As the latest earnings of GameStop on Wednesday evening show, there is a ton to fix. Reinventing a chain that has thousands of low stores that only sell tiny gaming games hardware will not be an easy feat.

It's not like GameStop plans on starting selling low fares out of one of its organic malls. It's also unlikely that GameStop requires Chewy to ship Chewy orders in a new partnership. Is GameStop's non-mall stores poised to become green charging stations with a high margin charge inside? Unlikely.

But the climb will be tough.

And keep in mind that the turn has to happen in a very public forum thanks to GameStop being the OG of the stock movement. That would mean, now that Furlong is going to have one of the most competitive CEO-level jobs in corporate America. He has to show results quickly to send the meme stock army down the drain or risk sending the stock down the drain. He needs to please billionaire Chairman Cohen. And he must also continue to build a good relationship with Wall Street along the way.

Millennials are watching — and the investing world and possibly former boss Bezos. No pressure.

Brian Sozzi is a large business editor and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow BrianSozzi on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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