Days after the struggling retailer announced it was closing stores and laying off workers, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc’s chief financial officer fell to his death from New York’s Tribeca skyscraper known as the “Jenga” Tower on Friday afternoon, police said Sunday.
Gustavo Arnal, 52, joined Bed Bath & Beyond in 2020. He previously worked as the CFO for cosmetics brand Avon in London and spent 20 years with Procter & Gamble, according to his LinkedIn profile.
On Friday at 12:30 p.m. EDT (1630 GMT), police responded to a 911 call and found a 52-year-old man dead near the building with injuries from a fall. The police identified the man as Gustavo Arnal.
The police statement did not provide further details about the circumstances that led to Arnal’s death and said the New York City medical examiner’s office would determine the cause of death. Bed Bath and Beyond confirmed his death in a news release on Sunday but did not provide details.
The big box chain — formerly known as a “category killer” in household and bathroom goods — has seen its fortunes falter after trying to sell more of its own brand, or private label goods.
Last week, Bed Bath & Beyond said it would close 150 stores, cut jobs and overhaul its business strategy in an effort to turn around its loss-making business.
It forecast a larger-than-expected 26% drop in same-store sales for the second quarter and said it would keep the Buybuy Baby business it had put up for sale.
Reuters calculations showed Arnal sold 55,013 shares of Bed Bath & Beyond in multiple transactions on August 16 and 17, based on SEC filings. Sales were about $1.4 million, and Arnal still has approximately 255,400 shares left.
On August 23, the company, Arnal and major shareholder Ryan Cohen were sued over accusations of artificially inflating the company’s stock price in a “pump and dump” scheme, with the lawsuit alleging that Arnal sold his shares at a higher price following the scheme.
The class action lawsuit listed Arnal as one of the defendants and was brought by a group of shareholders who claimed they lost about $1.2 billion.
The filing in the US District Court for the District of Columbia alleged that Arnal “agreed to regulate all internal sales by BBBY officers and directors to ensure that the market was not flooded with a large number of BBBY shares at a given time.”
The lawsuit also alleged that he made materially misleading statements to investors.
The company said it is “in the early stages of evaluating the complaint, but based on current knowledge, the company believes the allegations are unfounded.”
Shares at Bed Bath & Beyond have been very volatile in recent months, seen as so-called “meme” stocks, which trade more on social media sentiment than economic fundamentals.
Cohen, the billionaire investor, disclosed a roughly 10% stake in early March. RC Ventures from Cohen revealed plans to sell its stake on August 17.
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