Bed Bath & Beyond Names Interim CFO After Arnal's Death

(Bloomberg) — Bed Bath & Beyond Inc . promoted its chief accountant to interim chief financial officer following the death of former CFO Gustavo Arnal.

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Laura Crossen, the company’s senior vice president of finance and chief accounting officer, has assumed the position, Bed Bath & Beyond said in a statement Tuesday. She will continue to work as Chief Accountant.

Arnall, the former CFO, fell to his death Sept. 2 from a Manhattan skyscraper. Shares in the struggling home goods retailer tumbled 14% at 10:35 a.m. in New York on the first day of trading after the news was reported over the US Labor Day weekend.

Crossen has worked at Bed Bath & Beyond for more than two decades, the company said in June, when she was promoted from her role as senior vice president of finance, tax and financial transformation to chief accounting officer. Before joining Bed Bath & Beyond, she was an executive at Delia’s, an apparel retailer focused on teenage girls, and also worked at what was then called Ernst & Young.

Bed Bath & Beyond executives are trying to turn around the company, which has been burning through cash and has seen significant sales declines. Several senior executives have left the company recently: former CEO Mark Tritton left in June, and last week the chief operating officer and director of stores left after their roles were eliminated. Sue Gove, a board member, is serving as CEO on an interim basis while the company searches for Tritton’s permanent replacement.

That leaves Bed Bath & Beyond short of longtime executives to guide the company through the financial and market turmoil it has faced in the past few months. Crossen will also have to finish preparing the company’s second-quarter results, which are due on September 29. The company warned investors last week that it expects to report a 26% year-over-year decline in comparable sales on a month-over-year basis.

The Union, New Jersey-based company confirmed on September 4 that Arnall, 52, had died. The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a suicide, according to the New York Times.

Arnal was among Bed Bath & Beyond executives who provided details last Wednesday of the company’s turnaround plan, which included cutting 20 percent of the jobs in its corporate and supply chain operations and closing about 150 stores with more low production. The plan also called for new financing and the sale of up to 12 million shares to improve liquidity as it fights for survival.

Arnal joined the retailer in May 2020 as it dealt with the pandemic. He was previously at Avon Products Inc., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.

“The entire organization of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. is deeply saddened by this shocking loss,” the company said in a statement over the weekend.

(Updated stock trading and added date of company’s earnings report. An earlier version of this story corrected the date the company issued a statement confirming Arnall’s death.)

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