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C-suite turmoil at GameStop

BY Marianne Wilson

GameStop has fired two of its top executives just days after it appointed a new chief executive.

The videogame retailer disclosed in a regulatory filing on Friday that it has terminated the employment of COO Tony Bartel and executive VP of strategic business and brand development, Michael Hogan, effective immediately. In the filing, the company said the terminations were without cause and both executives will receive payment and benefits as provided in their contracts.

The firings come on the heels of the appointment of GameStop veteran Michael K. Mauler as CEO. Mauler, who most recently served as served as executive VP and president of international, was named to succeed Paul Raines, who is undergoing medical treatment. He resigned from all duties at the company last week in order to focus on his health and family.

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Analysts: Former Ralph Lauren CEO lead candidate for top spot at Lululemon

BY Marianne Wilson

Is Stefan Larsson poised to return to the retail arena?

The surprising departure of Laurent Potdevin as CEO of Lululemon Athletica Inc. will result in the return of a former star to the retail scene.

“In our view, the lead candidate is Stefan Larsson, the former CEO of Ralph Lauren,” Canaccord Genuity analysts led by Camilo Lyon wrote in a report. “Mr. Larsson’s one-year non-compete ends on May 1, 2018.”

Larsson took the reins at Ralph Lauren Corp.in November 2015, and left the company after less than two years on the job following creative disagreements with company founder Ralph Lauren. He arrived at Lauren from Gap Inc., where he served as global president of Old Navy. Prior to that, he was with fast-fashion giant H&M, which he is credited with helping to turn into a global retail powerhouse.

In its report, Canaccord said it expected Glen Murphy, who has been given the newly expanded role of executive chairman of Lululemon, to play an active role in the brand’s hunt for a new CEO. It noted that Larsson’s tenure at Old Navy occurred while Murphy was CEO of Gap Inc.

The Canaccord analysts said that while the root cause of Potdevine’s departure was not explicitly stated, Lululemon noted that he fell short of meeting the highest levels of integrity and respect for one another.

“Judging by this specific language, we can only assume there were claims of inappropriate behavior,” the analysts wrote. “To the board’s credit, it appears that it has moved quickly to quarantine any public fallout that could have ensued if details were to have been made public.”

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GameStop names new CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

GameStop Corp. named a company veteran as its new chief executive.

The retailer appointed Michael K. Mauler as CEO, effective immediately. Mauler, who has been with the company for more than 16 years, previously served as executive VP and president of international, which consists of nearly 2,000 stores operating under the GameStop, EB Games, Micromania and Zing Pop Culture brands.

Mauler succeeds Paul Raines, who resigned from all duties at the company last week in order to focus on his health and family, according to reports. Raines had temporary stepped down as CEO in November to deal with the reoccurrence of a brain tumor. He was replaced on an interim basis by board member and GameStop co-founder Daniel A. DeMatteo, who previously served as CEO from August 2008 to June 2010.

“Mike has been part of the GameStop senior leadership team for many years, where he has played an integral role in creating and driving the blueprint of our diversification strategy, successfully managing our international operations, and growing our core business segments,” said DeMatteo. “We are fortunate to have such an accomplished leader, who has a thorough understanding of our operations, business strategy and our stakeholders, and is committed to strengthening our results and driving our company forward.”

Raines, who also resigned from the board of J.C. Penney last week, was named chief executive of GameStop in 2010. He had a cancerous tumor removed from his brain in 2014.

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