Bed Bath & Beyond CFO dies after falling from New York’s Jenga tower

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September 4 (Reuters) – Bed Bath & Beyond Inc’s (BBBY.O) The chief financial officer died on Friday afternoon of New York’s Tribeca skyscraper, known as the “Jenga” tower, police said on Sunday, days after the struggling retailer announced it was closing stores and laying off workers.

Gustavo Arnal, 52, joined Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY.O) in 2020. He previously worked as CFO for cosmetics brand Avon in London and spent 20 years at Procter & Gamble (PG.N)according to his LinkedIn profile.

At 12:30 p.m. ET (16:30 GMT) on Friday, police responded to a 911 call and found a 52-year-old man dead near the building who had been injured in a fall. Police identified the man as Gustavo Arnal.

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The police statement did not provide further details about the circumstances leading to Arnal’s death and said the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office would determine the cause of death. Bed Bath & Beyond confirmed his death in a press release on Sunday but gave no details.

The big-box chain – once seen as a so-called “category killer” in home and bath goods – has seen its fortunes falter after a bid to sell more of its own or private label products.

Last week, Bed Bath & Beyond announced it would close 150 stores, cut jobs and overhaul its merchandising strategy in a bid to turn around its loss-making business.

It forecast a bigger-than-expected 26% fall in same-store sales for the second quarter and said it would retain its buybuy Baby business, which it had put up for sale. Read more

Signage is seen at a Bed Bath & Beyond store in Manhattan, New York, U.S., June 29, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

Arnal sold 55,013 shares of Bed Bath & Beyond in multiple trades on Aug. 16 and 17, according to Reuters calculations based on SEC filings. Sales were around $1.4 million and Arnal still had nearly 255,400 shares remaining.

On August 23, the company, Arnal and major shareholder Ryan Cohen were sued for artificially inflating the company’s stock price as part of a “pump and dump” scheme, with the lawsuit alleging that ‘Arnal had sold his shares at a higher price after the scheme. .

The class action lawsuit listed Arnal as one of the defendants and was brought by a group of shareholders who claimed to have lost approximately $1.2 billion.

The U.S. District Court filing for the District of Columbia alleged that Arnal “agreed to regulate all insider selling by officers and directors of BBBY to ensure that the market would not be flooded with a large number of ‘BBBY shares at any given time’.

The lawsuit also alleged that he made materially misleading statements to investors.

The company said it was “in the early stages of assessing the complaint, but based on current knowledge, the company believes the claims are without merit.”

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond have been highly volatile in recent months, being considered so-called “meme” stocks, which trade more on social media sentiment than economic fundamentals.

Cohen, a billionaire investor, disclosed a nearly 10% stake in early March. Cohen’s RC Ventures disclosed its intention to sell its stake on August 17. Read more

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Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington and Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Deepa Babington

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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