Following the death of Chief Financial Officer Gustavo Arnal on Friday, Bed Bath & Beyond named Laura Crossen as its interim CFO.
Arnal, who became the retailer’s CFO in May 2020, was found dead after falling from his balcony, the New York Police Department confirmed to Retail Dive. The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of death a suicide.
“Our focus is on supporting his family and his team and our thoughts are with them during this sad and difficult time,” Harriet Edelman, independent chair of the Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. board of directors, said in a statement Sunday.
Crossen — who has been with the company for more than two decades and in June was appointed senior vice president of finance and chief accounting officer — will take over Bed Bath & Beyond’s financial responsibilities on an interim basis, while maintaining her role as principal accounting officer, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Bed Bath & Beyond last week outlined a plan in hopes of turning around the business, which has suffered from falling traffic and declining sales. As part of that plan, the retailer announced it would lay off 20% of its corporate and supply chain staff, close more than 150 stores and discontinue three of its private labels in favor of national brands. At the same time, Bed Bath & Beyond announced it has secured $500 million in new financing, which includes its recently expanded $1.13 billion asset-backed revolving credit facility and a new $375 million “first-in-last-out” facility.
Crossen’s appointment also comes as Bed Bath & Beyond looks to realign its C-suite. In June, the company announced CEO Mark Tritton, who was brought on in late 2019 to help turnaround the business, would be exiting the company. Other executives, including the chief merchandising officer, chief operating officer and chief stores officer, have left the company in recent months.
The retailer, which experienced a boost in the early months of the pandemic as consumers actively sought out home goods, has faced falling sales in recent months. In the first quarter, Bed Bath & Beyond reported net sales fell 25% year over year to $1.5 billion, while comparable sales declined 23%. The retailer’s operating loss grew by over $265 million and its net loss widened by more than $300 million.
Last week, the company provided preliminary results for the second quarter: Bed Bath & Beyond expects net sales to be $1.45 billion and projects comp sales to fall by 26% year over year; the company expects free cash flow usage of about $325 million. For the full fiscal year, the company expects comp sales to fall by 20%, and projects adjusted SG&A of $250 million and capital expenditures of $250 million versus its originally planned $400 million.
Editor’s note: If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for free and confidential support. This story has been updated to reflect the medical examiner’s determination of cause of death.