Ryan Cohen

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Ryan Cohen
Cohen in 2019
Born1985 or 1986 (age 37–38)[1]
Occupations
  • Entrepreneur
  • activist investor
Known forFounder and CEO of Chewy (2011–2018)
Executive Chairman of GameStop (2021–present)

Ryan Cohen (born 1985 or 1986) is a Canadian entrepreneur and activist investor.[2][3] He founded e-commerce company Chewy in 2011, and was the company's chief executive office (CEO) until 2018. Cohen currently serves as the chairman and CEO of GameStop.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Cohen was born to a Jewish family in Montreal.[6][7] He never attended college, citing his father, who ran a glassware company, as his primary inspiration in pursuing an entrepreneurial route.[8] His father died in December 2019.[7]

Career[edit]

At the age of 15, Cohen started his first business collecting fees off referrals to various e-commerce sites. In 2011, at the age of 25, Cohen founded Chewy under its original name of MrChewy.[9] Cohen says his inspiration for picking the pet category came from his experience shopping for his poodle Tylee.[10] He cites his father Ted, who ran a glassware importing business, as a mentor.[11][12] To grow Chewy, Cohen used Amazon’s guidelines for supply chain, logistics and the convenience of shopping online but added a focus on customer service, including hand-written holiday cards, pet portraits, and flowers for deceased pets.[11] In need of capital, Cohen says he originally approached over 100 venture capital firms and was rejected by all of them.[13][14] In 2013, Cohen secured the company's first outside investment from Volition Capital for $15 million.[15] By 2016, he had raised capital from investors including BlackRock and T. Rowe Price New Horizons Fund.[16] That year the company had $900 million in sales and had become the number 1 online pet retailer.[17] By 2017, he raised $350 million and was preparing for an IPO.[18]

In April 2017, PetSmart purchased Chewy for $3.35 billion in the largest e-commerce acquisition of all time.[18] Chewy’s value was credited in part to the company’s relationship with its customers, from handwritten thank you and holiday cards to committing nearly one sixth of its employees to 24-hour customer service.[9][19] That year Fortune named Cohen one of its "40 under 40"[20] and Vox named him to its Recode 100 list.[21] Cohen remained CEO following the acquisition and operated the business largely as an independent unit of PetSmart.[17] He grew the business to 3.5 billion in revenue in 2018, including 66% of sales coming from customers signed up for automatic recurring shipments,[18] prior to stepping down as CEO to pursue personal goals and spend time with his family.[22] In June 2019, Chewy went public at a valuation of $8.7 billion.[23]

In January 2021, Cohen joined the GameStop board along with two Chewy executives.[24] Cohen was also appointed chairman to lead a new committee in charge of a company-wide transformation.[25] Cohen's appointment triggered a stock rally; within two weeks the stock had increased by 1,500% resulting from a short squeeze.[26] Since then, Cohen has been instrumental in a number of changes at GameStop,[27] including the departure of multiple executives and ten members of the board of directors,[25] and the hiring of multiple Amazon and Chewy executives in leadership positions.[28] He became chairman following the annual shareholder meeting.[7][29]

On September 28, 2023, Cohen took over as Chief Executive Officer of GameStop. He is receiving no salary for his roles as CEO and chairman.[30][31]

Investments[edit]

Following the sale of Chewy, Cohen made a significant investment in Apple, making him the largest individual shareholder of the tech company with 1.55 million shares (6.2 million split-adjusted shares as of August 31, 2020).[2][32]

In September 2020, Cohen disclosed a near 10% stake in GameStop,[33] making him the company's biggest individual investor. This was later increased to 12.9% on December 17, 2020, through an amended 13D filing with SEC.[34] According to these filings, Cohen's firm, RC Ventures, has expressed willingness to get more involved with the company in order “to produce the best results for all shareholders."[35]

In March 2022, it was disclosed that Cohen had a near 10% stake in Bed Bath & Beyond, through his investment company RC Ventures LLC.[36] Between August 15 and 18, his firm sold all of the stock, totaling 9.45 million shares.[37] The profit was estimated at $68 million.[38]

Books[edit]

In 2022, Cohen published a series of children's books titled Teddy based on lessons he learned from his father.[39]

Legal[edit]

Cohen was named in a federal lawsuit on August 24, 2022 for an alleged fraudulent scheme to artificially inflate the price of Bed Bath & Beyond's publicly traded stock in a pump and dump. The suit alleges Cohen conspired with company CFO Gustavo Arnal to release "fraudulent and misleading SEC filings". It claims damages of $1.2 billion in a class action suit.[40][41] News about the SEC’s investigation into Ryan Cohen’s trades of Bed Bath & Beyond shares was reported on September 7, 2023.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "He’s 34 years old and owns $550 million worth of Apple — so why is he hoping the stock gets hammered?" MarketWatch, June 27, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Matthews, Chris (March 23, 2020). "How the coronavirus stock-market rout dealt Chewy's founder a $150 million blow to his Apple holdings, for now". MarketWatch.
  3. ^ Trentmann, Nina; Maurer, Mark (February 24, 2021). "GameStop CFO Was Forced Out as Activist Investor Pushes New Strategy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  4. ^ "Billionaire Ryan Cohen takes over as CEO at GameStop, adding to chairman role". AP News. September 28, 2023.
  5. ^ "Biography - Ryan Cohen, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman". GameStop Investor Relations. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  6. ^ Friedman, Gabe (January 29, 2021). "The Jewish angles to the GameStop stock saga, explained". The Times of Israel.
  7. ^ a b c Kharif, Olga; Melin, Anders (April 26, 2021). "Ryan Cohen Maps Out GameStop Turnaround Plan". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  8. ^ Friedman, Zack. "Chewy Founder Ryan Cohen, Who Sold His Company For $3 Billion, Shares His Best Advice". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  9. ^ a b Lima, Debora (March 3, 2017). "Chewy goes toe-to-toe with mainstay brands". The Business Journals. American City Business Journals.
  10. ^ Verdon, Joan (June 14, 2019). "Don't Bet Against Pets: Retail Lessons From The Chewy IPO". Forbes. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Verdon, Joan (January 26, 2020). "Ryan Cohen Started A Company That Took On Amazon, And Sold It For $3 Billion. Now He's Thinking About What's Next". Forbes.
  12. ^ Cohen, Ryan (May 4, 2020). "The Secret Weapon Behind Chewy Founder Ryan Cohen's Success". Entrepreneur.
  13. ^ Adams, Susan (January 10, 2017). "The Man Who Found Gold In Dog Food". Forbes.
  14. ^ Dahlberg, Nancy (March 26, 2018). "What it's like to grow and sell a multibillion-dollar company, at age 32". Miami Herald.
  15. ^ Cohen, Ryan (January–February 2020). "The Founder of Chewy.com on Finding the Financing to Achieve Scale". Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Publishing.
  16. ^ Zaleski, Olivia (November 22, 2016). "Your Dog Deserves an Oil Portrait With Her Gluten-Free Kibble". Bloomberg L.P.
  17. ^ a b Armental, Maria (April 18, 2017). "PetSmart's Latest Bite at E-Commerce: Chewy.com". The Wall Street Journal.
  18. ^ a b c Gottfried, Miriam (October 1, 2019). "How PetSmart Swallowed Chewy—and Proved the Doubters Wrong". The Wall Street Journal.
  19. ^ Loizos, Connie (April 18, 2017). "A low-flying pet supplies company just sold to PetSmart in the biggest e-commerce sale ever". TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved October 12, 2023.
  20. ^ "40 Under 40". Fortune. 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  21. ^ Del Rey, Jason (December 6, 2017). "Ryan Cohen kept Chewy under the radar until it sold for more than $3 billion". Vox. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  22. ^ Dahlberg, Nancy (March 15, 2018). "Co-founder Ryan Cohen stepping down as CEO of Chewy, a homegrown success story". Miami Herald.
  23. ^ Gonzalez, Guadalupe (June 14, 2019). "Chewy's Co-Founder and Former CEO Explains How the Startup Went From Zero to a $8.7 Billion Public Company". Inc. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  24. ^ Sebastian, Dave (April 8, 2021). "GameStop to Name Chewy Co-Founder as Chairman". The Wall Street Journal.
  25. ^ a b Gilbert, Ben (March 25, 2021). "Wall Street darling Ryan Cohen is clearing house at GameStop, bringing in e-commerce experts to transform it into the Amazon of gaming". Business Insider.
  26. ^ Li, Yun (January 27, 2021). "GameStop mania explained: How the Reddit retail trading crowd ran over Wall Street pros". CNBC.
  27. ^ Herbst-Bayliss, Svea (March 23, 2021). "From pet food to video games: inside Ryan Cohen's GameStop obsession". Reuters. ISSN 2293-6343. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  28. ^ "GameStop shakeup rolls on, hires Amazon executive as chief growth officer". Reuters. March 30, 2021.
  29. ^ Thomas, Lauren (April 8, 2021). "GameStop says it will name Ryan Cohen chairman". CNBC. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  30. ^ Fonrouge, Gabrielle; Calia, Mike (2023-09-28). "GameStop names Ryan Cohen as CEO effective immediately, won't receive salary". CNBC. Retrieved 2023-09-28.
  31. ^ Soni, Aditya (September 28, 2023). "GameStop names billionaire Ryan Cohen as CEO in turnaround push". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved October 12, 2023.
  32. ^ Pendleton, Devon (June 5, 2020). "A Tech Founder Cashed Out and Bet It All on Apple and Wells Fargo". Bloomberg L.P.
  33. ^ Kharif, Olga (September 21, 2020). "GameStop Rises on Investor's Plan to Make It an Amazon Rival". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  34. ^ "INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED IN STATEMENTS FILED PURSUANT TO RULE 13d-1(a) AND AMENDMENTS THERETO FILED PURSUANT TO RULE 13d-2(a)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. December 17, 2020. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  35. ^ "INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED IN STATEMENTS FILED PURSUANT TO 13d-1(a) AND AMENDMENTS THERETO FILED PURSUANT TO 13d-2(a)". GameStop. September 21, 2020. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  36. ^ "GameStop's Cohen takes stake in Bed Bath & Beyond, pushes for changes". Reuters. March 7, 2022. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  37. ^ a b Rexaline, Shanthi. "Ryan Cohen Said To Be Under SEC Scanner Over His 'Sketchy' Bed Bath & Beyond Trades - Chewy (NYSE:CHWY), Bed Bath & Beyond (OTC:BBBYQ), GameStop (NYSE:GME)". Benzinga. Retrieved 2023-09-09.
  38. ^ Melin, Anders. "Ryan Cohen pockets $68 million profit on Bed Bath & Beyond trade". Fortune. Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  39. ^ Gottfried, Miriam; McCabe, Caitlin (2022-11-19). "GameStop's Ryan Cohen Wants to Be More Than a Meme-Stock King". WSJ.com.
  40. ^ Mollman, Steve (September 4, 2022). "Bed Bath & Beyond CFO accused of "pump and dump" scheme before falling to his death from NYC skyscraper". Fortune. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  41. ^ "Case# 1:22-cv-02541" (PDF). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia. August 24, 2022. Retrieved September 5, 2022.

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