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GameStop's New Billionaire Boss Calls For 'Extreme Frugality' In Email To Staff

After years of pulling the strings from behind the scenes, GameStop chairman and billionaire Chewy founder Ryan Cohen appointed himself CEO of the ailing video game store on Thursday. His first email to staff, obtained by Kotaku, called for “extreme frugality” and said “time wasters” would not be tolerated as the meme stock company fights to survive.

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“It is not sustainable for GameStop to operate a money losing business,” Cohen, who first joined the board of directors back in 2021, told corporate employees. Despite effectively being in charge of the retailer for a couple years now, engineering short-lived pushes into better online deliveries, NFTs, and selling things like gamer chairs and TVs, GameStop has remained mostly unprofitable during his reign.

A recent exodus among the c-suite, including Cohen’s firing of his own hand-picked CEO, Matt Furlong earlier this year, has left the company seemingly more adrift than ever. GameStop initiated several waves of layoffs in 2022, and has continued to decimate staffing levels at individual stores, even though its meme stock windfall means it still has roughly $1 billion in cash reserves.

Cohen’s first email to employees after making himself boss struck a grim and threatening tone. “Every expense at the company must be scrutinized under a microscope and all waste eliminated,” he wrote. “The company has no use for delegators and money wasters. I expect everyone to treat company money like their own and lead by example.”

It’s not clear what’s left to cut at the company, however. The core of GameStop’s troubles remains an ongoing shift from physical game sales to digital downloads. A massive Xbox leak earlier this month suggested Microsoft might soon be phasing out disc drives for its own consoles altogether. Funko Pop! and other collectible merchandise has taken over more and more of the chain’s retail shelves, but has so far been unable to make up for the losses from fewer sales of used games.

Here’s Cohen’s full email to GameStop employees:

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