The 30-something Ryan Cohen consolidates power at GameStop, and the Reddit crowd cheers … but the stock is so-so

GameStop’s army of Reddit traders is ecstatic over the news that Ryan Cohen has been nominated as chairman of the bricks-and-mortar videogame retailer, representing a consolidation of power for an executive seen as crucial to individual investors’ hoped-for turnaround.

Cohen, whom retail traders on social media treat reverentially, has been viewed as a sort of messiah in blue jeans amid the crusade to send the market value of GameStop

to the moon, while squeezing under foot the hedge funds that have bet against GameStop’s shares.

Market Extra: GameStop: The incredible unshortable stock

The 35-year-old Cohen is set to succeed Kathy Vrabeck at the board’s helm on June 9, the date of the company’s annual meeting.

Message boards on Thursday were lit up, reflecting the Reddit crowd’s exuberance:

“CHAIRMAN COHEN!” posted multiple users on Reddit board r/Superstonk, with those messages followed by rocket emojis signifying the belief that Cohen’s new role will propel GameStop’s stock “to the moon.”

For retail traders on social media, Cohen’s boardroom leadership promises greater change for the company.

“DADDY CHAIR COHEN,” posted one Reddit user.

Cohen appeared to appreciate that sentiment, tweeting a photoshopped image of himself as an armchair created earlier in the day by Reddit user “ButtFarm69”:

Cohen joined GameStop’s board earlier this year and immediately began championing a transition to digital sales — an effort he is currently leading. His pedigree as the co-founder of Chewy Inc. is one reason he has drawn such enthusiasm from individual investors. He recently disclosed a 12.9% stake in GameStop via his personal investment arm RC Ventures LLC, according to public documents.

Cohen’s involvement in GameStop also caught the eye of social-media stock guru Keith Gill — aka Roaring Kitty, aka DeepF—ingValue — who posted a bullish and Cohen-centric investment thesis on GameStop that garnered attention and played a key role in January’s manic short squeeze that sent GameStop shares up by more than 1,600% in a matter of days.

Despite the stock’s coming back to Earth, Cohen appears to have made good on his pledge to give GameStop’s leadership a face-lift. In addition to creating a strategy committee, formed last month to identify ways to accelerate GameStop’s transformation, the company has also brought in senior executives from Chewy CHWY and Amazon

to serve alongside CEO George Sherman and announced the departure of the and chief financial and customer officers.

When Cohen tweeted a picture of his late father with the phrase “Superman lives forever” on March 17, he received almost 1,000 replies from users — many of them outspoken GameStop bulls — offering condolences, with some even speculating that the tweet would push up the stock.

But while Cohen’s coming reign over the board has GameStop bulls thrilled, the stock was trading 1.4% lower Thursday and has been down over 8% so far this week.

A few dyed-in-the-wool GameStop enthusiasts fantasized about the possibility of an even more radical addition to the retailer’s ranks: Gill. That despite the fact that Roaring Kitty has no prior experience running a billion-dollar corporation.

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