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GameStop chief operating officer Owens leaves after 7 months

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GameStop Corp, the company whose stock became a sensation with day traders this year, said on Friday that Jenna Owens agreed to leave, just seven months after joining the video game retailer as its chief operating officer.

It is the first major executive departure at GameStop since the company hired a new chief executive officer, Matt Furlong, in June.

Owens, who was a top executive at Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, joined GameStop in March. She was one of the technology veterans recruited by Ryan Cohen, the co-founder and former CEO of online pet food retailer Chewy Inc, as he laid the groundwork to transform the moribund brick-and-mortar retailer into an e-commerce powerhouse.

GameStop did not provide a reason for Owens’ departure, which is effective immediately. The company said in a regulatory filing that it and Owens had reached a “separation agreement,” which is typically negotiated when companies and their executives do not see eye-to-eye.

GameStop also used separation agreements when it parted ways with its chief financial officer Jim Bell and chief executive officer George Sherman earlier this year. They were replaced by Furlong as CEO and Mike Recupero as CFO.

Owens will be entitled to a severance package, the filing said. Her duties will be taken up by other senior GameStop managers.

The company declined to comment beyond the filing. Owens could not immediately be reached for comment.

Cohen and two other former Chewy executives joined the GameStop board in January, right before retail investors piled into the company’s stock and drove it up more than 2,500%. The shares have given up some of their gains and GameStop is now valued at roughly $14 billion.

Since becoming chairman in June, Cohen has pushed aggressively to improve customers’ experience but has not offered a detailed plan about how GameStop will achieve its digital transformation..

The Grapevine, Texas-based company’s business of selling video games for consoles faces competition from streaming services such as those of Apple Inc, which allow users to play video games on their TV sets without a console required.

Cohen recruited a number of executives from Amazon, including Furlong and Elliott Wilkie who joined as chief growth officer in March.

Public records and filings show the company has hired dozens of new executives with supply chain and technology backgrounds from companies including Chewy and ecommerce company Zulily.

Cohen and Furlong have also let go several senior employees in recent months who have not fit their system, the two sources said.

 

(This story has been refiled to fix typo in lede)

 

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in Boston; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis)

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Google delays return to office in Europe, Middle East, Africa – Business Insider

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Alphabet Inc‘s Google is postponing its return-to-office plan for offices in Europe, the Middle East and Africa on concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Business Insider reported on Thursday, citing a memo it obtained.

 

(Reporting by Deborah Sophia in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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Canada’s CIBC misses profit estimates as costs climb, TD beats

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) posted disappointing fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday as expenses and retail banking bad debt provisions rose, while bigger rival Toronto-Dominion Bank beat expectations.

Both banks joined rivals in announcing share buybacks and raising dividends, which they are now able to do since the financial regulator’s restriction on capital distributions was

lifted last month.

TD, Canada‘s second-biggest bank, posted lower margins in Canada, but it surprised with a 5 basis-point margin expansion in its U.S. retail business from the prior quarter. It also released C$123 million ($96 million) of reserves previously set aside to cover loan losses.

CIBC, the country’s fifth-largest bank, reported 10% revenue growth, but that was clouded by a 13% increase in expenses. It also took C$78 million of provisions, higher than expected, as a 36% jump in money set aside in its Canadian banking unit offset releases in other divisions.

CIBC said it expects expense growth in fiscal 2022 to rise to the mid-single digits, but aims to deliver positive medium-term operating leverage, with revenue growth outpacing expense expansion.

“While we may have periods of negative operating leverage earlier in the year, we will target positive operating leverage across our business through the course of next year,” Chief Financial Officer Hratch Panossian said on an analyst call.

TD shares jumped 3.8% to C$95.48 in morning trading in Toronto, while CIBC fell 2.5% to C$137.61. The broader stock benchmark rose 0.9%.

TD said it would increase its dividend by 12.7%, and would buy back up to 50 million, or 2.7%, of outstanding shares.

CIBC will raise its dividend by 10.2$ to C$1.61 per share and said it would buy back up to 10 million shares, about 2.2% of outstanding stock.

Canadian banks have largely posted better-than-expected earnings in past quarters, but have faced pressures from low margins and higher variable compensation costs this quarter, with some of the boost from their capital markets businesses and reserve releases in prior periods receding.

The recovery in Canadian non-mortgage lending that investors had been hoping for is materializing, albeit at different rates.

Canadian credit card lending at both banks rose 3.1% from the prior quarter. TD’s business lending grew 2.6% from the previous quarter, the same pace as mortgage growth. CIBC’s corporate lending grew a more muted 0.85%, compared with a 3.4% increase in home loans.

TD said adjusted net income rose to C$2.09 a share from C$1.60 cents, a year earlier, compared with the average analyst estimate of C$1.96 a share.

CIBC said profit excluding one-off items rose to C$3.37 per share from C$2.79 a year earlier, versus the average analyst estimate of C$3.53.

($1 = 1.2817 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Additional reporting by Sohini Podder and Mehnaz Yasmin; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, Jan Harvey, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Jane Merriman)

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CIBC Misses Analysts’ Estimates as Expense Gains Accelerate – Yahoo Canada Finance

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(Bloomberg) — Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is seeing costs rise as the lender ramps up spending to boost businesses in the U.S. and domestically.

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Non-interest expenses rose 7.4% from the third quarter to C$3.14 billion ($2.5 billion), the Toronto-based bank said Thursday in a statement. That’s an acceleration from the previous 5.9% quarter-over-quarter gain it reported in August. Overall profit trailed analysts’ estimates.

CIBC has been spending to expand its franchise in the U.S. as well as its Canadian personal and business banking unit to sustain the growth in mortgages and client retention it has seen in recent quarters. But those investments haven’t been cheap as labor costs rise and banks battle to retain talent, driving up CIBC’s salary costs 5% from the third quarter and increasing performance-based compensation 20% for the year.

Chief Financial Officer Hratch Panossian said CIBC will keep spending to help drive revenue gains.

“Our strategy is to generate positive operating leverage, but to do so through top-line growth rather than containing expenses or under-investing,” Panossian said on the company’s earnings call.

CIBC slid 4.1% to C$135.44 at 9:40 a.m. in Toronto. The shares have advanced almost 25% this year, compared with a 27% gain for the S&P/TSX Commercial Banks Index.

The lender also raised its quarterly dividend 10% to C$1.61 a share, and announced a plan to buy back 10 million shares, or about 2.2% of outstanding shares. At the current share price, that would cost about C$1.4 billion. Canada’s banks last month were released from restrictions on dividend increases and share buybacks that regulators put in place early in the pandemic to protect the financial system.

Also in the statement:

  • Net income rose 42% to C$1.44 billion, or C$3.07 a share, in the three months through Oct. 31. Excluding some items, profit was C$3.37 a share. Analysts estimated C$3.54, on average.

  • CIBC took C$78 million in provisions for credit losses. Analysts estimated C$125.4 million, on average.

  • Canadian banking profit rose 1.2% from a year earlier to C$597 million.

(Updates with CFO’s comments starting in fourth paragraph.)

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