Bed Bath & Beyond CFO Gustavo Arnal died Friday, just over two years after taking the financial helm of the struggling home goods retailer.
The company confirmed Arnal’s death in a release. “The entire Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. organization is profoundly saddened by this shocking loss,” the company release stated. Arnal, who was also executive vice president, was listed as 52 years old in the company’s 2022 proxy.
Arnal fell from a Manhattan balcony of a building at 56 Leonard Street known as the “Jenga” tower and was pronounced dead at the scene, a New York City Police Department spokesperson said Monday. The manner of death was ruled a suicide, according to a spokesperson for the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner.
Arnal had a ”distinguished global career in finance,” the company said. Prior to joining Bed Bath & Beyond in May 2020, he worked at Avon, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Procter & Gamble, the company said. The company credited him with being instrumental in guiding the company through the COVID-19 pandemic, transforming its financial foundation and building a strong and talented team as well as being an “esteemed colleague in the financial community.”
“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 chair of the Bed Bath & Beyond board of directors, said in the release.
Bed Bath & Beyond has faced a growing litany of financial headaches as a bid to turn the company around has sputtered. Former CEO Mark Tritton stepped down in June and the company is now a high default risk, with some experts saying it will likely need to file for bankruptcy or be taken private, according to an Aug. 19 report from Industry Dive sister publication Retail Dive. An early pandemic boost in sales gave management a “false read on its improvements,” an analyst told Retail Dive.
On Wednesday the company also outlined deep cost-cutting measures and other steps to improve its balance sheet and cash flows including closing 150 stores and reducing its supply chain and corporate staff.
Separately, the company along with Arnal, activist investor Ryan Cohen and others were named defendants in a class-action lawsuit filed on Aug. 23 which alleged Cohen, Arnal and others “engaged in fraudulent scheme to artificially inflate” the price of Bed Bath & Beyond’s publicly traded stock.
The company in a Wednesday SEC filing signed by Arnal stated it was in the early stages of evaluating the complaint but “based on current knowledge the company believes the claims are without merit.”
A company spokesperson declined comment beyond the release.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with information from the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner.