Ian Shepherd has stepped down as CEO of GAME, giving total control over to the incoming administrators.
“I’ve said a number of times that the administrator, once appointed, takes charge of the business,” he said, in an internal memo, retrieved by MCV.
“Having two people try to do that is both confusing and a waste of money. With that in mind, I’ve agreed with Mike that I will step down as CEO and the business immediately – this is my final email to you all.”
Shepherd provided his own brief take on the route forward for the group, noting that the administrators will be working quickly to get GAME back on its feet, in order to further attract potential buyers. However, he warned, there would be big changes to come in the near future.
“I’m sad to confirm that no deal has been done, and so I have signed the necessary paperwork this morning to allow the appointment of administrators,” he said. “The process has been finalised, and so Mike Jarvis from PwC takes charge immediately.
“He will have a lot to do very quickly. Let’s be clear, he will certainly make big changes, both to the store estate and in the office, but will be doing so with a view to creating a trading business that he can attract a buyer for.
“As I’ve said before, the business is worth more trading than not. It’s going to be a difficult week for everyone, but the best thing you can all do is support Mike and his team, and do your best to help create the most positive outcome you can.
“Mike will be communicating more with all of you today, both face to face where possible and by email, so watch out for that.”
A further internal memo also surfaced today (again, delivered to MCV), though this one was issued before the weekend. In Friday's email, Shepherd addressed the concerns of a seeming lack of information from the company itself in comparison to the swathes of reporting and comment from the online media.
"It is really important to me to be as open and straight with all of you as I possibly can be," wrote Shepherd. "The reality, I’m afraid, is that a lot of what you read online is speculation about things that might happen, rather than facts about what actually is happening. Some of it ends up being right, a lot doesn’t, but I can completely understand why it feels like you are reading more online than you are hearing from us."
The full statement is below:
Although I haven’t got a lot of new news to update you with this morning, I wanted to write to you all in response to the feedback I’ve been hearing. One of the main threads I’ve heard has been your passion for the business, your determination to get through this and your commitment to each other and to the brands. That is enormously impressive, and is one of the reasons why this is a business worth fighting for. I’m grateful for all of the support you continue to show.
A second thing I hear a lot, though, is “why do we keep hearing more on in the internet and through the trade press than we do officially through the company?”. That bothers me a lot, because it is really important to me to be as open and straight with all of you as I possibly can be. The reality, I’m afraid, is that a lot of what you read online is speculation about things that might happen, rather than facts about what actually is happening. Some of it ends up being right, a lot doesn’t, but I can completely understand why it feels like you are reading more online than you are hearing from us. In reality, there are only a few solid facts you should hold on to:
· We’ve filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator, which gives us the ability to trade with some protection from our creditors. That’s not the same as saying we’ve already gone into administration, despite that being what a lot of online sites are saying – they don’t fully understand the process they are writing about.
· If a buyer for the business doesn’t emerge over the next few days, we will appoint an administrator very early next week.
· As I’ve said before, I think the priority of any administrator will be to sell the business as a trading entity – a ‘going concern’. They will have full managerial control and will certainly make big changes, but their initial priority will be to trade rather than liquidate.
· In preparation for any potential administration next week, we’ve made arrangements to ensure everyone is paid for the work they’ve done this month.
Everything else you read online is simply speculation. It’s painful to read so much coverage and feel so powerless about it, but I’m afraid it goes with the territory of being in this awful situation.
Finally, the other thing I hear a bit of is anger – how did we come to be in this situation when other, supposedly weaker retailers have limped along? I share that frustration. I have fought, and all of the management team here have fought with every ounce of energy to avoid arriving at this point. That we haven’t succeeded makes me angry and sad in equal measure. As your CEO, this is my responsibility and I don’t shirk from that.
After all of that, I’d reiterate one final message from earlier in the week. The best thing we can do now is demonstrate clearly, to an administrator and to potential buyers, that this is a great business filled with great, committed people. We have a rocky road ahead, but this is not the end for this business on the High Street. Stay with it.
GAME Group PLC