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GameStop Body

The CFO leaves weeks after a social media frenzy caused the company’s stock price to skyrocket, only to drop afterwards.

The Grapevine, Texas-based video game retailer said Jim Bell will step down as executive vice president and chief financial officer on March 26. He was appointed in June 2019.

GameStop, which also sells consumer electronics and gaming products, did not provide a reason for Mr. Bell’s departure, but praised “his significant contributions and leadership, including his efforts over the years. ‘year passed during the Covid-19 pandemic’.

The company said it has started looking for a successor. He plans to appoint chief accountant Diana Jajeh as interim chief financial officer if he cannot find a permanent replacement for Mr Bell when he leaves.

GameStop was one of the companies whose shares shot up in late January, driven by posts on Reddit and other social media sites. Its share price rose from around $ 20 to $ 483 in two weeks in January, as individual investors online encouraged themselves to buy the stock and oust hedge funds that had bet its price would drop.

U.S. regulators are investigating whether there has been market manipulation or other types of criminal misconduct that fueled the rapid rise in shares of GameStop and others.

GameStop shares rose about 13% on Monday after Keith Gill, one of the company’s investors who rose to prominence in recent weeks, revealed a larger stake on Friday. On Tuesday, GameStop stock closed at $ 44.97, down 2.2% on the day.

Prior to joining GameStop, Mr. Bell from 2016 to March 2019 was Chief Financial Officer and Interim Managing Director of Wok Holdings Inc., the parent company of catering companies including PF Chang’s and True Food Kitchen. Previous roles during his career have included Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at RLH Corp., a hotel company, and CEO of Coldwater Creek Inc., a clothing retailer.

GameStop should consider a CFO with experience working at a physical retailer with a strong e-commerce business to help develop a larger digital presence, said Michael Pachter, research analyst at financial services firm Wedbush Securities Inc.

Mr. Bell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Write to Nina Trentmann at nina.trentmann@wsj.com

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