Bed Bath & Beyond executive dies after falling from New York building

A man who died from a high-rise building in New York on Friday has been identified as Gustavo Arnal, chief financial officer of struggling home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond.

The company confirmed his death on Sunday. The New York Police Department said the 52-year-old was found unconscious at the Tribeca Tower in lower Manhattan and was pronounced dead at the scene. They did not comment further.

Arnal joined the retailer in 2020 from cosmetics brand Avon. He previously held senior positions at Walgreens Boots Alliance and Procter & Gamble.

“The entire Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. organization is deeply saddened by this shocking loss,” Harriet Edelman, independent chair of the company’s board of directors, said in a statement.

“I am proud to have been his colleague, and he will be truly missed by Bed Bath & Beyond and all who had the pleasure of knowing him.”

The company has been struggling for some time with lackluster sales and mounting debt. The home goods retailer ousted chief executive Mark Tritton in June following a dismal earnings report that showed sharply rising quarterly losses and rapidly shrinking cash on the balance sheet. The company blamed weak consumer demand and said the late arrival of orders caused inventory to pile up.

Activist investor Ryan Cohen had been pushing for changes in the boardroom and for the sale of Bed Bath & Beyond’s baby items business after becoming a major shareholder in the company earlier This year.

However, Cohen then sold his entire stake in the company in mid-August, causing the stock to fall sharply. Over the past 12 months, its shares have fallen by two-thirds.

At the same time, Arnal sold 55,013 shares of the company, Reuters reported on Sunday based on SEC filings.

The company unveiled a turnaround plan last week, designed to improve its balance sheet and boost growth, including $500 million in new financing, 150 store closures, job cuts and a revamped brand lineup. He also asked to sell up to 12 million shares, with the proceeds partly to pay down debt.

Acting chief executive Sue Gove said the plan represented a “simple, back-to-basics philosophy” that would spur growth.

“We are working quickly and diligently to strengthen our liquidity and secure our path for the future,” she said at the time.

Bed Bath & Beyond also said comparable sales – a popular industry metric – fell 26% in the second quarter from a year earlier. He expects the overall figure for the year to be down around 20%, based on improvements in the second half.

Shares of the company fell more than 30% after the plan was announced on Wednesday.

Bed Bath & Beyond’s financial troubles were overshadowed for much of the summer by high volatility in the company’s share price in a return to the meme stock trading trend that began in early the pandemic.

Demand from retail traders helped push shares of Bed Bath & Beyond as high as $23.08 in August, a move that reversed after Cohen’s exit. Shares closed at $8.63 on Friday.

Arnal’s death was first reported by the New York Post.

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