Mattress Bathtub & Past CFO Gustavo Arnal died by suicide

Signage outside a Bed Bath & Beyond retail store in New York, August 25, 2022.

Gaby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Bed Bath & Beyond said on Sunday its chief financial officer, Gustavo Arnal, died on Friday after police previously said Arnal fell to his death.

The New York coroner’s office said Sunday night the manager died of multiple blunt trauma and took his own life. Arnal left no note and said nothing about his wife, who was home at the time, sources told WNBC.

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

Arnal, 52, fell from a building in downtown Manhattan on Friday afternoon, according to police. Known locally as the “Jenga Tower” or “Jenga Building,” the iconic skyscraper has more than 50 floors of uniquely stacked apartments.

According to a spokesman for the New York City Deputy Commissioner’s Office, the city’s police department’s public information office, emergency medical services pronounced Arnal deceased at the scene.

Arnal joined Bed Bath in 2020 from London cosmetics company Avon, shortly after the start of the coronavirus pandemic. He also worked for Procter & Gamble for 20 years. In Bed Bath’s statement on Sunday, the company noted that Arnal “has been instrumental in leading the organization during the coronavirus pandemic”.

Since joining Bed Bath, Arnal has made several purchases and sales of the company’s stock. Last month, he sold more than 55,000 shares at prices ranging from $20 to $29.95 per share, for a total of $1.23 million, according to a filing. Those sales came as part of a trading plan he signed in April. The document also noted that he still held 255,396 shares after those latest sales.

Bed Bath’s recent struggles

Bed Bath’s stock is down 43% this year — and about 90% off its all-time high.

Arnal died two days after the company announced plans to close 150 stores of its “less producing” eponymous stores. The New Jersey-based retailer also said it will cut 20% of its workforce, adding that it has secured more than $500 million in new financing, including a loan.

The cost-cutting measures come as Bed Bath’s core business continues to struggle. The company announced a continued slowdown in sales on Wednesday, with same-store sales for the three-month window ending Aug. 27 down 26% — a bigger drop than in previous quarters.

Some analysts say that while the turnaround plan announced on Wednesday will improve the company’s cash position, it won’t be enough to save Bed Bath’s business. Raymond James downgraded the stock Thursday, saying the cost cuts and new funding “just kick the can on the road.”

Bed Bath is one of the public companies involved in so-called “meme trading,” where stocks see wild price swings due to social media hype among retail investors. In August, Bed Bath had several days with price movements of more than 20%.

In mid-August, activist investor Ryan Cohen, a major shareholder in Bed Bath, left his position. Cohens RC Ventures sold its Bed Bath holdings at a price range of $18.68 per share to $29.22 per share. After the sale, the stock plummeted 40%.

Bed Bath is also facing a recent class action lawsuit filed in the District of Columbia alleging that it misrepresented its value and profitability. Arnal is named in the lawsuit, as is Cohen.

Bed Bath told CNBC it would not comment on the litigation. In an Aug. 31 SEC filing, the company noted that it was “researching the complaint,” but based on its current knowledge, it believed the allegations were “baseless.”

If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for support and help from a trained counselor.

— Additional coverage by CNBC’s Dan Manganese.

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