Bed Bath & Beyond announced Sept. 4 that Chief Financial Officer Gustavo Arnal died two days earlier, calling the passing a “shocking loss.”
The New York Police Department issued a statement Sept. 2 saying police responded to a 911 call from Manhattan and upon arrival found “an unconscious and unresponsive 52-year-old male, who appeared to suffer from injuries indicative from a fall from an elevated position.”
Police identified the man as Arnal and said the medical examiner’s office “will determine the cause of death and the investigation remains ongoing.”
The news comes just days after the Union-based retailer unveiled a strategic update that aimed to improve company performance, including with staff cuts, additional executive changes and the closing of 150 stores.
The past few months have been especially turbulent for the retailer, including with activist investor Ryan Cohen’s call for improved performance by the company in March as well as an executive shakeup in June. At that time, former CEO Mark Tritton was replaced by interim Chief Executive Officer Sue Gove, among other changes.
Additionally, according to The Washington Post, Arnal and Cohen were named in a class action suit that alleged they, along with others, “engaged in a fraudulent scheme to artificially inflate the price of BBBY publicly traded stock.”
Bed Bath & Beyond told NJBIZ in a Sept. 6 email, “As previously noted in our 8-K filed August 31, the Company is in the early stages of evaluating the complaint but based on current knowledge the Company believes the claims are without merit.”
According to the retailer’s Sept. 4 statement, Arnal joined Bed Bath & Beyond in May 2020 after working for Avon, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Procter & Gamble. The added that the CFO “was instrumental in guiding the organization throughout the coronavirus pandemic, transforming the Company’s financial foundation and building a strong and talented team.”
“I wish to extend our sincerest condolences to Gustavo’s family. 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,” Harriet Edelman, independent board chair, said in the statement. “Our focus is on supporting his family and his team and our thoughts are with them during this sad and difficult time.”
Edelman asked the public to respect the family’s privacy.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11:50 a.m. Sept. 6 to include a comment from Bed Bath & Beyond about the class action suit. Additionally, the story was updated at 12:40 p.m. Sept. 6 to include a link to the story about the new interim CFO.