Former GameStop CEO Passes Away At 53 After Battle With Cancer

GameStop's longtime CEO J. Paul Raines led the company through a big transformation.


J. Paul Raines, the longtime CEO of GameStop, passed away on Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 53. In a statement, current GameStop CEO Mike Mauler said the company is "profoundly sad" to learn of Raines' passing.

"His spirit is woven into the fabric of our company and the entire GameStop family mourns this loss," Mauler said. "Paul was a brilliant man and remarkable visionary, as well as a compassionate, caring, and inspirational community leader who was beloved by many.

"Paul cared deeply about his work and his GameStop family, but his greatest love was for his family. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to them and all those whose lives and hearts Paul touched during his journey."

Raines served as GameStop's CEO from 2010 until earlier this year. He was responsible for helping diversify GameStop's business model as digital game sales ate away at the kind of profits the company used to see. Under Raines' leadership, GameStop moved into the general technology sector with its purchase of numerous AT&T and Cricket Wireless stores. Today, GameStop is in fact the biggest AT&T retailer in the United States. Raines also led GameStop's charge into the collectibles business, including its acquisition of ThinkGeek.

Raines' wife Claudia told Dallas News that one of her favorite quotes from her husband was, "When things are working, look out the window at those who contributed. When things are not working, look in the mirror."

"Everybody says the same thing, how much of an impact he had on them," Claudia Raines told the newspaper. "He liked to surprise people and speak to them in Spanish. He remembered everyone's name and treated everyone the same, from the janitor to a board member.

Raines joined GameStop in 2008 as its COO, arriving at the video game retailer after holding executive-level positions at Home Depot.

Raines had a tumor removed from his brain in 2014. At the time, GameStop said doctors expected him to make a full recovery. Sadly, his medical condition returned, and Raines went on medical leave in November 2017 and later resigned from GameStop's board of directors to focus on spending time with his family.

Born in Costa Rica and an only child, Raines was raised in Georgia and spent summers in Costa Rica. He attended Georgia Tech and graduated in 1985 with a degree in Industrial Engineering. Raines is survived by his wife and two children, Victoria, 23, and Julian, 19.

Raines' legacy continues with his charity endeavors. His family are supporters of a scholarship program for Hispanic students at Georgia Tech. Additionally, Raines created GameStop's Gamer Fund, an employee-sponsored charity that collects money for cash grants that go to employees in times of need.

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