- GameStop has hired Nir Patel as its new chief operating officer effective on May 31, the company said in a securities filing.
- Patel comes from Belk, where he served as the department store's chief executive for less than a year before his resignation was announced late last week. Patel also served as a senior merchandising executive with Kohl's.
- At GameStop, Patel is set to make a base salary of $200,000 and is eligible for $3.4 million in sign-on bonuses. Patel's offer also calls for a $14 million equity grant as well as a $21 million stock grant for forgoing equity awards and compensation from his previous employer (Belk) in taking the offer.
Patel will become the second COO to start at GameStop since March 2021 as the company tries to transform itself and adapt to structural changes in the gaming business.
Jenna Owens was the last person to fill that role. Owens, a veteran of Amazon and Google, left in October after just seven months on the job. GameStop never explained the reason for her departure.
Owens background was more in line with GameStop's recent hires than Patel, who is a veteran of the department store sector.
Ryan Cohen, who founded the online pet specialist Chewy and has refashioned himself into an activist investor, took a stake in GameStop in late 2020. He went on to take over the board chair role, from which he oversaw a deep overhaul of the company's executive ranks in an effort to transform the company.
In a letter to GameStop's board before he joined it, Cohen said that the retailer "must promptly pivot from a brick-and-mortar mindset to a technology-driven company."
Since then, many of the newcomers to the company, like Owens, brought experience from Amazon and other tech and e-commerce companies. GameStop also added offices in domestic tech hub cities to bolster its recruiting.
How Patel fits in with GameStop's new strategy and plans is difficult to say given that the company has been reticent about divulging its plans and strategies since Cohen took over as chair.
The company press release announcing Patel's hire was just four sentences long and omitted the traditional executive statements and description of roles and focuses that executive hire announcements commonly include.