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GameStop appoints Amazon Web Services’ Matt Francis as CTO

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On Wednesday, GameStop announced that it appointed Matt Francis to the newly-created role of Chief Technology Officer, who most recently was an engineering leader at Amazon Web Services.

Video Transcript

MYLES UDLAND: Keeping our eyes, of course, on shares of GameStop, it continues to trend here on the site, continues to be one of the most, if not the most, discussed stock among retail traders, really among anybody following the market. Yesterday, we saw GameStop shares fall some 60%. They closed right at $90 per share. And we see the stock is up about 12% this morning, trading just above 100 bucks a share on some news that pretty much never is going to move the stock of any company this much.

But GameStop out this morning announcing for the first time, it has appointed Matt Francis as its chief technology officer. Matt comes over to GameStop from AWS, but does have some crossover with some of the leadership team-- or excuse me, they're also announcing that they've got a senior VP of customer care, Kelli Durkin. And she has some crossover leadership team from her time over at Chewy.

So, Brian Sozzi getting the whole band back together here. But I think a 13% rally on hiring a CTO and a VP of customer care certainly shows that this thing still remains in the funny zone, even though it was down-- had been down 70% since the close on Friday.

BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, I think GameStop really buried the lead here. They should have just titled this press release, "We hired a bunch of former Amazon workers," because that's what you're getting here in their new chief technology officer, Matt Francis, who has a lot of experience as an engineer at Amazon Web Services.

And very important point you made, Myles, on Kelli Durkin, Chewy's vice president of customer service. Obviously, I wouldn't be surprised if their largest shareholder, now Ryan Cohen, had something to do with that. But Chewy is known for its customer service, and GameStop is not. It's not good. The customer service is not good.

And also, the other hire, too, is Josh Krueger. He held fullfillment roles in Amazon, Walmart, and QVC. Now those are three companies that know what they're doing in terms of fulfillment, which, again, GameStop does not. So just the fact that they're GameStop, which has been a dying retailer for five years-- we've been beating it into a drum the past couple of days-- that they're able to attract this type of talent, maybe there is some type of turnaround here. But again, I don't see it.

JULIE HYMAN: Brian Sozzi's review of GameStop customer service not good. But to me, the more interesting developments that are happening today have nothing to do with GameStop itself, and that's been kind of the story for me all along. The developments around it are more interesting than the company itself. First of all, of course, we have Janet Yellen, who is calling a meeting of regulators this week to talk about the volatility around GameStop. Who knows what they're going to do? It's been reportedly a discussion at this point.

But it should be interesting at the same time that Vlad Tenev, who has been, as we know, everywhere, talking about his company, Robinhood, and their role in all of this, he came out with a blog post yesterday and said that the settlement, the clearing process for trades, should be shortened. It should be instantaneous, he said. Because in fact, instead of removing risk from the system, as that is designed to do, he says it has increased risk to the system.

Now, I don't know what regulators are going to do on that front. One would imagine that will be at least part of the discussion. But I got to mention also, at the same time, as if you haven't had enough of Robinhood, they're coming out with a Super Bowl ad as well that they're going to be running during the game on Sunday. But you can see the whole thing on YouTube already. Here's a little piece of it. It's a pretty-- it's a fairly earnest commercial here.

BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, they should have-- yeah, I mean, really, it should have been a whole-- they should have just taken that money and kept it internally. Myles really clearly glad-- you should be creating a Substack. It needs a newsletter.

MYLES UDLAND: Yeah, you know, the thing from that commercial that really stands out to me was that last bit right at the end, of the "we are all investors." Because that's-- the funny thing about-- you know, Julie, about Vlad's blog post yesterday and his tweet storm about how it should be T plus 0 is, that's marketing copy.

Like, the issue that Robinhood has come into is financial regulatory plumbing type issues, which are deeply thought about, deeply discussed, deeply debated within the industry, within other financial firms. I'm sure there's an entire team at a company like a Virtue, like a Citadel, that is thinking about where should we be spending our lobbying dollars. Should we be trying to get it to reduce T plus 2 to T plus 1? Should we be thinking about something else?

And Robinhood is kind of coming in off the top rope here with an argument for a limit any T plus 2 that's grounded in their own marketing materials of democratizing finance. It's not really grounded in how the market functions and why we got here in the first place. So, I mean, we're apparently going to hear from Tenev at a Senate hearing February 18th, so not too, too long for all of us to wait to hear it from the guy himself.

I'm just surprised that a week plus into the saga, it's still being framed around, how we want to position our brand, rather than, where we fit into the financial system and what that does and does not enable us to do and any decisions that we should make along those lines. I find the stance that we stand outside finance and are better for it strange at a time where you've taken on billions of dollars of capital because you were required to by the same system that you pretend to not be a part of. So I think that's--

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, and by the way, I don't think you're going to have to wait till February 18th to hear from him, right? I mean, the way that things have been going, we're going to hear a lot more from him. One of the-- obviously, one of the other narratives around this whole thing is the sort of conspiracy theories that are being cooked up by some of the folks on Wall Street Bets and elsewhere.

And feeding into that might be the idea that Janet Yellen had to get an ethics waiver to call this regulatory meeting because she has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from Citadel. Citadel has been one of the sort of villains painted by Wall Street Bets in this situation because they were one of the main buyers of order flow from Robinhood.

Now, as usual, in reality, the story is probably a lot more complex than it would be painted, that there's this sort of cabal of regulators and Wall Streeters who are working together to fix the market. But it's not going to help the narrative that that's perhaps a minor detail of it.

MYLES UDLAND: Yeah, and I know we don't have time to go into this. I mean, I actually don't really feel any sympathy for Janet Yellen being in a weird spot here. But we don't have to go into the ethics of who should be-- you know, what that revolving door should look like. I mean, Donald Trump was just the president.

So clearly, the average person doesn't care about conflicts of interest. But they do matter, and I do think that perhaps-- not perhaps. This is not the best look for Yellen, even for someone who, again, has done a lot of-- spent a lot of her career in public service. It's tough. It is tough to, then, have to get an ethics waiver for the first major event of your tenure as Treasury Secretary and I do not think does anybody any favors in this situation.