Things go from bad to worse at Bed Bath & Beyond
The death of Bed Bath & Beyond chief financial officer Gustavo Arnal last Friday has shocked the company and the retailing world. It has also created more uncertainty within the retailer’s leadership ranks just days after trying to sell stakeholders on a latest plan to turn the business around.
Mr. Arnal died by suicide on Friday after falling from the eighteenth floor of his apartment building in New York City. Earlier in the week he had briefed analysts and investors on Bed Bath & Beyond’s plans to restructure its business including securing commitments for $500 million in new financing through a $375 million loan with Sixth Street Partners and by expanding its $1.13 billion asset-backed revolving credit facility.
Bed Bath & Beyond also announced a restructuring that included closing 150 of its namesake stores and cutting 20 percent of its corporate and supply chain staff. The retailer also reorganized its c-suite, with its chief operating officer and chief stores officer leaving the company.
A Wall Street Journal article points out that the loss of its CFO, COO and CSO follows the departures of former CEO Mark Tritton and chief merchandising officer Joel Hartsig on June 29.
Last week’s announcement that the retailer had secured further credit was thought to have given Bed Bath & Beyond some breathing room after reports had surfaced that some vendors had pulled back from working with the company over concerns about being paid.
Bed Bath & Beyond was in the process of trying to close the books on the quarter ending Aug. 27. It’s unclear whether the company will seek an extension following Mr. Arnal’s death.
Mr. Arnal’s psychiatric history is publicly unknown at this time as is the exact motivation that led him to take his own life.
It’s clear that he was under a great deal of pressure, Business Insider reports. He was being named in a federal class action lawsuit alleging that he and activist investor and GameStop chairman Ryan Cohen engaged in a “pump and dump” scheme to artificially drive the price of Bed Bath & Beyond’s stock up before selling their shares in the company.
Mr. Arnal sold more than 42,000 shares with an estimated value of more than $1 million. Mr. Cohen announced plans to sell his entire 9.8 percent stake in Bed Bath & Beyond.
- Bed Bath & Beyond Faces Leadership Gap After Executive’s Death – The Wall Street Journal
- Bed Bath & Beyond CFO who died after falling from NYC high rise was subject of insider trading and fraud lawsuit just before death, documents show – Business Insider
- Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Announces Strategic Changes to Strengthen its Financial Positioning, Drive Growth and Better Serve Customers – Bed Bath & Beyond
- Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s new turnaround plan work any better than the previous one? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you do now if you are Bed Bath & Beyond’s board of directors? How do you think recent developments are affecting employees of the company and its vendors?