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GameStop Hires Duane Morris Fintech Leader in E-Commerce Pivot

March 4, 2022, 10:30 AM

GameStop Corp.’s overhaul from a video game retailer to an e-commerce and digital asset platform now includes a new legal recruit—Cindy Yang—who most recently was a leader of the financial technology practice at Duane Morris.

Yang joined GameStop in late February as a vice president and assistant general counsel, she said via LinkedIn. New York state bar records show she has relocated to the company’s headquarters in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, Texas.

She will advise GameStop on financial innovation matters involving blockchain, digital assets, the metaverse, and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, per her LinkedIn.

GameStop has been under new management since early 2021 after billionaire entrepreneur Ryan Cohen—a co-founder of online pet retailer Chewy.com Inc.—acquired a stake and gained a seat on the board. He has been restructuring GameStop from a brick-and-mortar video game retailer to an e-commerce business.

Cohen recruited a pair of former Amazon.com Inc. executives, Matthew Furlong and Mike Recupero, to become GameStop’s chief executive officer and chief financial officer, respectively.

Yang and a GameStop spokesman didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Yang’s Role

During her past two decades in private practice, Yang used her background in intellectual property to develop a fintech-focused practice that touched on blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs. Yang spoke with Bloomberg Law for a story last year about patents and NFTs.

At GameStop, she will work with the company’s new general counsel, Mark Robinson, who shed the interim title to take over the top legal role permanently in January, according to his LinkedIn profile. Robinson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Yang will tackle “cutting edge legal and regulatory issues” at “one of the coolest and most influential companies in the world,” according to a message Yang posted last week to her LinkedIn profile.

She joined Duane Morris as a New York-based partner in 2017, having previously been a partner at Schiff Hardin and now-defunct Dickstein Shapiro. She started her career in 2002 as an associate at New York-based IP boutique Cooper & Dunham.

Roller-Coaster Ride

GameStop’s stock price went on a roller-coast ride last year amid a market mania over so-called meme stocks. George Sherman, GameStop’s former CEO, left at the end of last July with a nearly $170 million package.

GameStop made its deal with Cohen’s RC Ventures LLC with the counsel of Sullivan & Cromwell, which had previously advised GameStop on a strategic review of its operations. RC Ventures was represented by New York’s Olshan Frome Wolosky, according to securities filings.

Now under new management, GameStop plans to build an NFT marketplace in an effort to expand its appeal to meme investors, Bloomberg News reported in January.

GameStop partnered in February with Australian blockchain startup Immutable to create an NFT platform and a $100 million fund to invest in NFT-related projects.

GameStop Jobs

GameStop is currently looking to hire a senior counsel for corporate securities and a senior counsel for commercial, according to the company’s online jobs board.

In November, GameStop brought on former Vinson & Elkins associate Breanna Kelly in Dallas for an in-house counsel role.

Jessica Yudewitz, who spent more than a decade in legal and human resources roles at GameStop, formed her own consultancy in January after serving as the company’s director of employee relations and legal compliance.

Robinson, the new general counsel, had previously stepped in to serve as interim legal chief after the departure last June of former general counsel Dan Reed II.

A LinkedIn profile for Reed states that he’s now retired after spending 15 years at the company. Michael Burgoyne, another longtime GameStop lawyer, also left last year to become general counsel for fast-food chain Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers LLC.

After Yang’s exit from Duane Morris last month, the law firm’s fintech practice now has three leaders.

Robert Kadlec, a corporate partner who joined Duane Morris in 2017, has led the fintech industry initiative at the firm since it was launched in 2019. Two other partners—Lynne Evans and James Cooke III—have stepped up to co-head the group, firm spokeswoman Amy Abbonizio said.

Duane Morris doesn’t do legal work for GameStop, she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com