The CFO of Bed Bath & Beyond has died after a fall from his NYC apartment on Friday. The executive, Gustavo Arnal, was 52 - he joined the company in 2020 after working as the CFO for beauty retailer Avon and spent 20 years with Procter & Gamble.
Arnal died after falling from the NY Tribeca skyscraper, which is often called the ‘Jenga’ tower.
“Gustavo will be remembered by all he worked with for his leadership, talent and stewardship of our Company. I am proud to have been his colleague, and he will be truly missed by all of us at Bed Bath & Beyond and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him,” said Harriet Edelman, the Chairwoman of Bed Bath & Beyond. “Our focus is on supporting his family and his team and our thoughts are with them during this sad and difficult time. Please join us in respecting the family’s privacy.”
The executive recently announced that the retailer would be shutting 150 of its stores and laying off 20 percent of its staff after reporting below-average FY22 results. The retailer announced $1.45 billion in net sales, which equated to a 26 percent drop in its second quarter. This was larger than expected, and the changes in staff and cutting costs would save the business roughly USD250 million for the company’s fiscal year.
Following the announcement, shares fell more than 21 percent – it has shed 60.25 percent in the last months. “There’s still an incredible degree of love for Bed Bath & Beyond,” said Mara Sirhal, the Brand President at Bed Bath & Beyond. “We must get back to our rightful place as the home-category destination, and our goal is to achieve this by leading with the products and brands our customers want.”
It’s been a rough few years for bed Bath & Beyond. The business has reported falling sales YoY, resulting in the ousting of its CEO, Mark Tritton, who spent less than three years in the role. Board member, Sue Grove, has replaced Tritton as the Interim CEO, but the business is planning to fill the role with someone permanent. Its COO, John Hartmann, is departing the business, and the role will be eliminated.
Bed Bath & Beyond has revealed a turnaround plan to conserve costs and streamline its structure, which may help revive the business. As part of this strategy, Bed Bath & Beyond has secured additional financing from JP Morgan and a USD375 million loan from Sixth Street Partners. The closure of stores and laying off staff is another part of the strategy.
In conjunction with the poor results, Arnal and major shareholder Ryan Cohen were accused of a pumping and dumping scheme with its shares (i.e., artificially lifting the company’s stock price and selling shares once the prices were inflated), resulting in shareholders losing out on USD1.2 billion. “At all times Gustavo … controlled day-to-day affairs of BBBY, while Cohen, the largest BBBY shareholder who appointed three directors to BBBY’s board, a controlling person pursuant to Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act, has extensive involvement in management and decision-making process through his ownership stake in BBBY and his appointed directors,” read the complaint.
“Through mid-August 2022, BBBY appeared – from the Company’s public statements and financial reporting – to be a successful turning-around company. The company appeared to be moving rapidly towards growth and profitability through ‘fundamentally reshaping’ strategies and spinning off Buybuy Baby business. The picture, however, was almost entirely a fiction. From March 2022 through August 2022, Cohen, in conspiracy with Gustavo, JPM, and others, engaged in a fraudulent scheme to artificially inflate the price of BBBY publicly traded stock.”
Bed Bath & Beyond said it was “in the early stages of evaluating the complaint, but based on current knowledge, the company believes the claims are without merit.”
Like this story? Click here to find out more about Power Retail E-Commerce Intelligence or here to sign-up for the free weekly Pulse Newsletter for more essential online retail content.