GameStop (GME) - Get Report Chief Financial Officer Jim Bell will depart the video game retailer that has become synonymous with the 2021 Wall Street short squeeze with a payout worth nearly $30 million - after less than two years on the job.
GameStop announced Bell was resigning from the company effective March 26. Bell will get $15.8 million when he departs, and could earn millions more from equity in coming years if activist investor Ryan Cohen can pull off a turnaround of GameStop.
Bell’s contract entitles him to $2.8 million in severance and an immediate payout of restricted shares worth $13 million when he departs, according to regulatory filings and calculations by Bloomberg.
He also holds a couple of equity awards that are tied to goals spanning several years. Filings show he could collect at least 300,000 shares, depending on how the company does. They were worth $13.8 million as of Tuesday’s close in New York.
While terms of Bell’s payout are fairly standard for a departing executive, the value of his potential exit package is high - partly a product of the GameStop rally in January that’s left the stock worth more than double what it was at the end of 2020.
Cohen, the billionaire co-founder of pet-supply company Chewy, has pushed GameStop to rethink its business to become a more digitally focused company. He’s the company’s second-largest shareholder and won three board seats in January through an agreement struck between GameStop and his activist fund, RC Ventures.
Bell's departure comes as the company battles lower revenue and leadership upheaval as it continues to struggle through the pandemic as well as the move to downloadable and cloud-based live-streaming video games.
Shares of GameStop were up 3.14% at $46.34 in trading on Wednesday.