GameStop on Thursday announced the appointment of George Sherman as chief executive officer and member of the board of directors, effective April 15.
Sherman is a retail veteran. Most recently, he was CEO of Victra, the largest authorized retailer for Verizon Wireless, according to a company press release. He also previously was president and interim CEO for Advance Auto Parts and president of Best Buy Services, ran the operations and home services divisions of Home Depot and spent 14 years at Target in various leadership positions, the company said.
Sherman succeeds Shane Kim, who served as interim CEO since May 2018 and as a director since July 2011 and who last year made it clear that he had no interest in the job long term.
Sherman takes over at GameStop at a time of trouble for the gaming retailer, though he and the company's co-founder hinted at a major revamp on the horizon.
GameStop has struggled to keep a chief executive after the untimely death of longtime chief J. Paul Raines, who left early last year to undergo treatment for an illness and died in March. In the summer, GameStop appointed Kim, a former Microsoft executive who has served on its board since 2011, after Michael Mauler left just months after being promoted to the position.
For a while, the retailer had been able to hold on to its brick-and-mortar success thanks to ongoing sales of hard copies of games, included second-hand ones, along with new hardware releases and its own diversification of its operations. But GameStop more recently has increasingly watched gaming finally move online. That stands to only grow, in light of Google's announcement this week of a new streaming game platform that promises to further erode game disc sales.
In a statement Thursday, Sherman said the company continues to see opportunity in the new era, however, noting, "The team has already done extensive strategic work to identify and pursue new customer-centric opportunities that will further expand the culture of gaming in new and exciting ways."
The retailer showed some strength at the holidays. While total global sales for the nine weeks ended Jan. 5 fell 5% year over year to $2.63 billion, total comparable store sales rose 1.5%, which reflected a 3.6% increase in the U.S. The company's strong holiday, which came after relatively strong sales last season, was thanks to strength in accessories, collectibles and digital, which more than offset declines in pre-owned game sales and new video game hardware sales, executives said.
In his own statement on the announcement, Dan DeMatteo, GameStop’s executive chairman and a co-founder, acknowledged that the company is "at a critical juncture" and also said that a new strategy is imminent, one that he said emerged after "a thorough review of strategic and financial alternatives."
The company earlier this year dropped its pursuit of a sale "due to the lack of available financing on terms that would be commercially acceptable to a prospective acquiror," after discussions with third parties that had begun last June. That effort did culminate in the sale of GameStop's Spring Mobile business, which closed in January and generated some $735 million.