GameStop Fires CFO Amid Staff Cuts

GameStop Corp., the world’s largest video game retailer, has terminated the employment of CFO Michael Recupero — about a year after hiring him and CEO Matt Furlong from Amazon.

The company said Diana Saadeh-Jajeh, formerly chief accounting officer, would assume the CFO position, effective immediately. Saadeh-Jajeh previously held the CFO role on an interim basis in 2021.

She receives the same $200,000 base salary as Recupero and is eligible for $1.9 million in bonuses — a little more than half the reported $3.6 million in sign-on bonuses Recupero received.

The move comes amid ongoing staff cuts as GameStop attempts to reduce costs. The retailer posted a net loss of $157.9 million on revenue of $1.37 billion in quarter ended April 30. That was more than double the $66.8 million loss on revenue of $1.3 billion in the previous-year period.

“Everyone in the organization must become even more hands-on and embrace a heightened level of accountability for results,” Furlong reportedly wrote in a company memo.

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Redbox CFO Kavita Suthar Stepping Down

Redbox April 25 announced that CFO Kavita Suthar will step down, effective May 16, to spend more time with her family. Suthar joined Redbox in 2015, becoming CFO in 2020 and played an integral role in navigating the home entertainment company’s successful SPAC merger and public listing in October 2021.

Mitchell Cohen, who has prior experience as COO and CFO at several public and private companies, will serve as interim CFO. Suthar will remain involved with Redbox in an advisory capacity to facilitate a smooth transition.

“Kavita played an important role in Redbox’s public listing and provided the sound financial leadership required to navigate the process successfully,” CEO Galen Smith said in a statement. “On behalf of the board and executive team, I’d like to thank her for her contributions over the years. We wish her the very best in her future endeavors.”

Redbox, which lost $140 million in fiscal 2021, is undergoing internal restructuring as it cuts overhead costs and attempts to transition to digital distribution.

Separately, Redbox shares exploded (41%) April 25 as more than 33 million shares traded hands on Wall Street — well above the average daily volume around 2.4 million shares. Online scuttlebutt suggests the stock has piqued the interest of short sellers who are betting the company becomes a “meme stock,” triggering major up-and-downturns.

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FuboTV Names John Janedis New CFO

Online television platform FuboTV Feb.3 announced it has named John Janedis as its new CFO effective Feb. 7.

Janedis will be based in FuboTV’s New York City headquarters and report directly to CEO David Gandler. He replaces Simone Nardi who, as previously announced, will depart the company to pursue new opportunities.

Janedis brings more than two decades of experience leading equity research, investor relations, capital markets and M&A for some of the world’s preeminent financial institutions. As CFO, Janedis will lead all financial operations and strategy for fuboTV with a particular emphasis on directing the company’s future financial roadmap.

“John is a seasoned financial leader in the media space who will be a critical partner as we craft Fubo’s strategic and financial plan for this year and beyond,” CEO David Gandler said in a statement.

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Janedis most recently was managing director, senior equity research analyst, at Wolfe Research, focusing on the media, cable and telecommunications industries. From 2018 to 2020, Janedis was SVP of capital markets, treasurer and investor relations at TEGNA Inc., where he advised on key strategic and capital market decisions, M&A and growth initiatives.

As managing director, senior equity research analyst at Jefferies, a role he held from 2014 to 2018, Janedis authored research on more than 30 media, cable and telecom companies with a specialty in advertising, streaming, direct to consumer and other distribution platforms.

Genius Brands Appoints Zrinka Dekic CFO

Genius Brands International has appointed Zrinka Dekic CFO and head of strategy and mergers and acquisitions. 

Previous CFO Bob Denton will assume the new role of EVP of finance and accounting at Genius Brands.

“Bob Denton has made tremendous contributions to the company as CFO over the past years, as we transformed Genius Brands from an emerging children’s entertainment company to a diversified global organization with a solid balance sheet, positioned for long term growth,” Heyward said in a statement. “We look forward to his continued contributions as executive vice president of finance and accounting, as we accelerate our focus on expansion.”

Dekic brings nearly 20 years of entertainment industry and financial markets experience, including corporate strategy, investment banking, investment management and corporate finance at The Walt Disney Company, and before that, Goldman Sachs. At The Walt Disney Company, she held posts in corporate strategy, strategic planning and business development. Prior to joining Disney, Dekic served as a VP in the investment management division at Goldman Sachs in New York. Most recently, she served as VP of Houlihan Lokey’s Investment Banking Technology, Media & Telecom (TMT) Group, where she was responsible for business development and execution across the sector, including media and entertainment, digital media, streaming technologies, animation and video games. Dekic holds a B.A. from Amherst College and an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School.

“We are excited to welcome Zrinka as chief financial officer of Genius Brands at this major inflection point in the Company’s development, given the rapid revenue growth, expanded distribution, and a powerful slate of new content,” Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands, said in a statement. “With the recently announced acquisition of WOW! Unlimited Media in Canada and our strategic investment in Your Family Entertainment traded on the Frankfurt Exchange (RFE.F), providing us control over one of Europe’s largest animation catalogs and now a global channel footprint, the addition of Zrinka, with her impressive professional pedigree, including The Walt Disney Company and Goldman Sachs, will empower us to maximize value for shareholders. In particular, Zrinka brings a proven track record in M&A, which will continue to be an important component of our strategy as we execute on our vision of becoming one of the world’s leading global children’s entertainment companies. In support of this goal, she brings extensive relationships across Wall Street and the entertainment industry, spanning animation, media and entertainment, sports, and consumer product companies across North America and globally.”

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“I am delighted and honored to join Genius Brands International at this critical juncture of the disruptive technological changes in the industry as well as the explosive global demand for children’s content,” Dekic said in a statement. “With Genius’s recently announced acquisition of a prolific animation producer WOW! Unlimited Media in Canada and its investment in Your Family Entertainment in Europe, as well as the fact that Genius Brands, through Kartoon Channel! Worldwide, controls both content and distribution, it is poised for global expansion and growth. I am thrilled to be joining the company at such an exciting time and to be part of the leadership team that will take Genius Brands to the next level.”

Best Buy Looks Within for New CFO

Best Buy July 24 announced that Matt Bilunas, SVP of enterprise and merchandise finance, will be promoted to CFO effective July 29.

Previous CFO Corie Barry became the first female CEO of Best Buy in June in conjunction with Hubert Joly’s transition to executive chairman of the board.

A 13-year veteran of Best Buy, Bilunas has held both corporate and field roles along with domestic and international positions. Since 2017, he has been responsible for the company’s planning processes, including strategic planning, annual budgeting, monthly forecasting and capital planning.

Matt Bilunas

“Matt has been a key finance leader for a number of years and has played a very important role in creating and implementing our growth strategy,” Barry said in a statement. “After working closely with him for more than a decade, I trust him and am completely confident that his experience, skills and commitment to the company’s continued growth make him the perfect choice for this role.”

Bilunas joined Best Buy in 2006 as a director of territory finance based in Los Angeles. He later served as a director of international finance, senior director of enterprise finance, VP of e-commerce and marketing finance and VP of merchandise, e-commerce, marketing and ee-commerce finance.

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Prior to Best Buy, Bilunas worked at Carlson Companies, NRG Energy, Bandag and KPMG. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Iowa State University.

Activision Blizzard’s Spencer Neumann Expected to Become New Netflix CFO

Netflix is reportedly set to announce the hiring of Spencer Neumann as its new CFO, replacing long-time chief executive David Wells, who is leaving the company, according to Reuters, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

Neumann, who has been CFO of Activision Blizzard for less than two years, was put on paid leave Dec. 31 by the Los Angeles-based video game publisher, according to a regulatory filing.

Prior to Activision, Neumann held management positions at Disney’s theme park and television units.

A Netflix spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.

 

Trans World Entertainment Promotes Edwin Sapienza to CFO

Trans World Entertainment Corp., parent of the F.Y.E. home entertainment retail chain, disclosed in an Oct. 29 regulatory filing the promotion of veteran executive Edwin Sapienza to the vacant CFO position following Oct. 10 passing of John Anderson.

Sapienza, 48, has been secretary and treasurer at TWEC since 2012 – positions he will continue going forward. He joined TWEC as a staff accountant in 1993.

In addition to a base salary of $280,000, Sapienza received stock options to purchase 50,000 shares of common stock, in addition to 20,000 shares of restricted stock.

CFO David Wells Leaving Netflix

Netflix Aug. 13 announced that CFO David Wells plans to step down after helping the company choose his successor. The search will include both internal and external candidates. Wells, who joined Netflix in 2004 and has served as CFO since 2010, intends to stay until his successor is found.

“It’s been 14 wonderful years at Netflix, and I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished,” Wells said in a statement.

Wells, who has made a small fortune through stock options during Netflix’s meteoric rise, said his next chapter in life will focus on philanthropy.

“I like big challenges, but I’m not sure yet what that looks like,” he said.

“David has been a valuable partner to Netflix and to me. He skillfully managed our finances during a phase of dramatic growth that has allowed us to create and bring amazing entertainment to our members all over the world while also delivering outstanding returns to our investors,” said co-founder/CEO Reed Hastings. “I look forward to working with him during the transition as we identify a new CFO who will help us continue to pursue our ambitious goals.”