- As it pivots to e-commerce, GameStop has hired Elliott Wilke as its new chief growth officer, effective April 5, according to a company release.
- Wilke previously spent seven years at Amazon, where he held senior roles in the company's Amazon Fresh, Prime Pantry and Worldwide Private Brands segments. At GameStop, Wilke will oversee growth strategies and marketing, the company said.
- GameStop also hired Andrea Wolfe, previously vice president of marketing at Chewy, as the gaming retailer's new vice president of brand development; and Tom Petersen, another former Chewy executive, joined as GameStop's new vice president of merchandising.
As GameStop attempts a top-to-bottom transformation for a digitized era of gaming, the retailer is filling out its ranks with e-commerce and tech specialists.
It should come as no surprise that a handful of those execs come from Chewy, the pet products e-commerce specialist. Leading GameStop's transformation is Ryan Cohen, founder and former CEO of Chewy. Cohen joined GameStop's board earlier this year and was appointed head of a transformation committee after buying an activist stake in the company last year.
Along with Wolfe and Petersen, GameStop has also tapped a former Chewy executive as its new senior vice president of e-commerce. Another Chewy veteran, Alan Attal, is on the board committee tasked with transforming the company.
Last fall, after taking a stake in GameStop, Cohen chided GameStop's board in a letter at the time for moving too slowly to adapt to the changing gaming world and implored the company to begin transitioning away from brick-and-mortar retail.
The retailer, with more than 4,000 stores, has suffered years of falling sales as more games take digital form and more sales are made online. While GameStop has a relatively healthy balance sheet and a lease portfolio that gives it flexibility, it has not yet been able to stem the declines and fully answer the existential question of its role in gaming once the sector transitions more fully to digital formats.
Cohen's solution is to turn GameStop into a "technology company," but since his letter, few details have emerged as to what, exactly, that means in practice. At the retailer's most recent opportunity to elaborate, its fourth quarter earnings, executives didn't take analyst questions and laid out, according to one analyst group, an "anti-climactic" and "normal" strategic vision for 2021 that looked much like what retailers are doing these days.
But the executive hires are a sign that GameStop is getting serious about e-commerce. Along with the former Chewy execs, GameStop recently tapped another Amazon veteran, Jenna Owens, as its new chief operating officer.
The new roles also hint at the company's focal points going forward. GameStop signaled that as chief growth officer, Wilke will be responsible for "increasing customer loyalty," including through its Power Up Rewards program and its Game Informer publication. He will also work with other team leaders on "expanding the Company’s use of customer insights and metrics to optimize channel marketing."
Wolfe, in the branding role, "will help drive branding, content, social media strategy and other digital initiatives," while Petersen would "help drive vendor relations, product management and related merchandising initiatives," GameStop said.