However, Bath & Beyond plunges into the stock market after the suicide of its CFO | Economie

Bad news is piling up on Bed, Bath & Beyond. The American retailer of home and décor products is in crisis The latest and tragic chapter has been the suicide of its chief financial officer, Gustavo Arnal, by throwing himself from a skyscraper where he was living in New York. The suicide occurred on Friday and the company confirmed it on Sunday, but the shares have not returned to trading until today. They did so with a 15% drop at the opening of the session.

With Arnal’s death, Bed, Bath & Beyond (BB & B) was left without a CEO who was trying to solve the company’s financial problems, affected by a sharp drop in sales due to inflation and changes in consumer habits, American consumption. To this were added strategic errors and implementation of the company itself.

Arnal was signed in 2020 from Avon, where he was involved in a successful restructuring of the company. He led negotiations to refinance BB&B’s debt and in designing a downsizing plan that included closing 150 stores and laying off 20% of the workforce. The plan also envisages the possibility of a capital increase, the announcement of which caused a sharp decline in the stock. Arnal had sold part of his stock in the company prior to this announcement, which led to a lawsuit by investors who accused him of insider trading.

Losing a manager is more dangerous for BB&B because the company is also looking for a new CEO. The company fired Mark Triton in June, and the position has since been filled on a temporary basis by an independent director, Sue Goff, who didn’t even work full time and relied heavily on Arnal, who was No. 2 at the company.

The 52-year-old Venezuelan-born manager died last Friday when he fell from his apartment into a luxury 50-story skyscraper at 56 Leonard Street in Tribeca (Manhattan, New York). The building is known for its strange structure like the Jenga tower, referring to the game of cubes in which you have to remove the blocks without the tower collapsing. Arnal fell out of his apartment on the eighteenth floor. The executive did not leave a note or say anything to his wife, who was in the apartment at the time. However, from the start, the police worked with a suicide hypothesis, and the New York Coroner’s Office finally certified it as such.

temporary alternative

The company has commissioned chief accounting officer Laura Crosen to take over the duties of the deceased’s temporary chief financial officer. In this way, the CEO and CFO both hold their positions on a temporary basis. Crosen has been in her position as account manager, working under Arnal, for only two months, since the previous manager’s resignation.

Bed Bath & Beyond was on the verge of suspending payments due to its financial problems, caused first by the pandemic and then by changes in consumption habits due to rising inflation. News about changes in shareholders, advances and setbacks in debt refinancing negotiations sparked violent fluctuations in the prices of its bonds, which entered the debt category. meme actions, Prices based more on fashion, buying fever and sentiment more than company accounts. The company’s business has yet to improve and in the last quarter it suffered a 26% drop in sales.

The market capitalization of the company’s shares was $690 million on Friday (a slightly lower figure in euros). The company has lost two-thirds of its value in the past 12 months and much more in the past decade, as it was worth more than $15 billion 10 years ago. In 2019, activist investors took control of the company at the expense of its founders, who were accused of not modernizing stores and losing business opportunities associated with e-commerce.

Then Mark Triton, CEO from rival Target, took over the company, choosing his own brand, which did not convince customers, and also suffered from the epidemic and bottlenecks in the supply chain. The council decided to dispense with his services last June. Some executives came with him.

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