Steven Tamares has stepped down from his post as chief executive officer of Union-based Bed Bath & Beyond and resigned as a member of its board of directors after 16 years.
Recently appointed member of the board Mary Winston has been appointed interim CEO, and recently appointed member Andrea Weiss will chair the business transformation and strategy review committee.
The board has formed a CEO search committee and will retain an executive search firm to help identify a permanent replacement for Temares.
“During Steven’s tenure as CEO, Bed Bath & Beyond has grown into an iconic omnichannel retailer with a strong portfolio of brands, more than 1,500 stores and an expanding digital presence,” said Patrick Gaston, independent chairman of the board in a statement. “On behalf of the board, I thank him for his unwavering commitment and tireless service, and wish him the best.”
Temares joined Bed Bath in 1992 as general counsel and was appointed chief operating officer in 1997 before becoming CEO in 2003. Since March, a group of three activist investors have come at Bed Bath with the intention of replacing its board and CEO. The company replaced five members of the board on May 1, but Legion Partners, Macellum Advisors and Ancora Advisors said the changes were “not nearly enough when measured against what is needed to address the issues with the current board and management,” citing Temares.
Interim CEO Winston has years of experience as a corporate board member and board strategist, and has served in the C-suite of various global companies since 1995. Among other positions, her experience includes serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Family Dollar from 2012 to 2015 and senior vice president and CFO at grocer Giant Eagle Inc. from 2008 to 2012.
“This is an important time for Bed Bath & Beyond and we are committed to being the leading omnichannel retailer of choice for the home and heart-felt life events,” Winston said in a statement. “As we continue to review our business initiatives, we will be focused on driving continued margin improvement, enhancing the in-store and online experience, and accelerating our transformation to the benefit of our shareholders, customers and other stakeholders.”
Activist investor Legion Partners filed suit against the company on May 10 in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, alleging that Bed Bath has made efforts to subvert the rights of shareholders in relation to the slate of director candidates that Legion nominated for its board at the 2019 annual meeting of shareholders.
Legion was not available to provide comment by press time.