Former Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has shared some new insight into his surprise exit from GameStop’s board of directors, saying in an interview with SXSW (via Bloomberg) that it was all about being excluded from conversations about how to transform the ship. about.
Before explaining why he left, Fils-Aime explained why he joined in the first place. After leaving Nintendo, Fils-Aime joined GameStop’s board of directors in April 2020, at the start of the pandemic and with some believing GameStop would go bankrupt before the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. So why would Fils-Aime join a company with less than rosy prospects?
He explained that at the time he thought GameStop had the potential to be successful if his management took the right steps and had an action plan.
“I believed the business could be successful. I thought that with the right steps, the business would definitely exist in time for the launch of the new systems. And a business that serves the core gaming audience like it does would be able to have a prosperous future,” he said.
Fils-Aime said GameStop needs to pivot in several ways, including growing its e-commerce portfolio and services and generally finding ways to better serve its customer base. The PS5 and Series X | S were released in November 2021 and GameStop remained solvent as Fils-Aime said the retailer was able to maximize its wealth through these systems and the most lucrative games sold for them.
Around this time, billionaire entrepreneur Ryan Cohen, founder of the online pet food company Chewy, took over GameStop. Fils-Aime said Cohen pushed for “more aggressive change” at GameStop. Additionally, Fils-Aime said that GameStop’s board had already been through a number of “raw” fights with shareholders, and management didn’t want to go through that again.
As for why Fils-Aime ultimately quit GameStop’s board, he said it was up to Cohen and other executives to not want to listen to his advice, despite Fils-Aime being a veteran of the game. industry and one of the most experienced business executives in games. on the planet.
“The problem was that as the strategy started to be developed, I asked to be part of the team to develop the strategy. I knew the company. I knew it as a consumer, I knew it as a as a salesperson; I had opinions about how the business should be refocused. But I was pushed back,” Fils-Aime said. “The perspective was, ‘Reggie, we want to keep the team small. .so it’s gonna be myself [Cohen] and some of the people I brought on board.'”
Fils-Aime flatly said that Cohen and the team around him “don’t know this business, don’t understand the players.”
When Fils-Aime was denied a spot on GameStop’s strategy team for the way forward, he took it as a sign that it was time to move on.
“I took that as code for ‘Thank you, but we really don’t want any other ideas.’ For me, that was not acceptable,” he said.
To date, GameStop’s current management hasn’t defined its strategy for success going forward, and Fils-Aime didn’t want to stick around to see how it all went.
“There hasn’t been an articulated strategy. Management says, ‘Well, we don’t want to articulate our strategy because we don’t want anyone stealing our strategy,'” Fils-Aime said.
Articulating a business strategy is key, Fils-Aime said, saying management needs to brief its business partners, suppliers, employees and shareholders, but it never did and apparently still hasn’t.
Fils-Aimed ended his comments by saying that this is a marked departure from other boards he serves on, including Brunswick Corp. (which makes very sophisticated boats) and the toy company Spin Master.
GameSpot has followed GameStop in an attempt to get more details on Fils-Aime’s exit from the board.
Additionally, Fils-Aime used his speech to criticize Facebook’s plans for the metaverse. The Regginator has also added an author to that resume, as his new book charting his rise from the Bronx to the top of Nintendo, Disrupting the Game, will be released in May.