Bed Bath & Beyond names Laura Crossen as interim CFO

Bed Bath & Beyond has named its Chief Accounting Officer, Laura Crossen, as interim chief financial officer following the death of Gustavo Arnal.

The home goods retailer said in a regulatory filing that Crossen will continue as its principal accounting officer while serving in the interim role.

Crossen’s base salary was raised by $200,000 and the compensation committee increased her target annual bonus opportunity to 70% of her modified base salary. The filing said the adjustments will only be effective for the period she serves as interim CFO.

Arnal died on Friday. According to the New York City Police Department, police found the 52-year-old unconscious with injuries showing he fell from the 57-story Jenga residential tower in Manhattan. The medical examiner’s office ruled the 52-year-old Arnal’s death a suicide, and police said an investigation was underway.

Arnal was facing a lawsuit accusing him of taking part in a scheme to inflate the company’s stock price to sell shares for a huge profit.

The news of Arnal’s death came just days after Bed Bath & Beyond said that it would close stores and lay off workers in a bid to turn around its beleaguered business.

The chain, based in Union, New Jersey, is looking to shut about 150 of its namesake stores and slash its workforce by 20%.

Preliminary figures for the quarter ended Aug. 27 show that Bed Bath & Beyond’s sales were $1.45 billion, a drop of 26% from the same period last year. It burned through $325 million in cash during the quarter.

The retailer ousted its previous CEO, former Target executive Mark Tritton, in June. Last month, it announced that the chief operating officer and chief stores officer had left. The company is being led by an interim CEO, board member and retail consultant Sue Gove, while a search firm looks for a permanent leader.

Arnal joined the company in May 2020 after holding senior executive jobs at Avon, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Procter & Gamble.

The company said in a filing in August that Arnal sold about 55,000 shares for $1.4 million in six separate transactions that still left him with more than 255,000 shares.

On Aug. 23, an investor from suburban Washington filed a lawsuit against Arnal, activist investor Ryan Cohen, Bed Bath & Beyond and its bankers. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, accuses Arnal and Cohen of conspiring since March in a “pump and dump” scheme to boost the price of Bed Bath & Beyond shares. It accused Cohen of making a false filing and manipulating the timing of disclosing the sale of most of his stock.

Bed Bath & Beyond said it is in the early stages of evaluating the complaint, “but based on current knowledge the company believes the claims are without merit.”

Shares of the company fell 15% in morning trading, to $7.32.

The national suicide and crisis lifeline is available by calling or texting 988. There is also an online chat at 988lifeline.org.


Business Writer David Koenig contributed to this report.

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