Bed Bath & Beyond confirms the death of CFO Gustavo Arnal

The home goods retailer did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the circumstances of Mr Arnal’s death.

Police responded Friday afternoon to a 911 call of an unconscious person near a skyscraper on Manhattan’s West Side, according to a statement from the New York City Police Department. Upon arrival, officers found a person they identified as 52-year-old Gustavo Arnal, who appeared to be suffering from injuries indicative of a fall from an elevated position and was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency personnel, the police statement said.

The city medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death and the police investigation remains ongoing, the release said.

The skyscraper at 56 Leonard Street, known as the Jenga Tower, is a 57-story high-rise located in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. The building is known for its shape, with its misaligned apartments stacked on top of each other.

The New York Post reported earlier on the situation.

A man identified as 52-year-old Gustavo Arnal died Friday after falling from the skyscraper at 56 Leonard Street, known as the Jenga Tower.


Photo:

Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Mr Arnal, 52, who joined the retailer in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, spoke to investors last week about the company’s efforts to help shore up funding and restructure operations. Previously, he was a financial executive at Avon and Procter & Gamble Co.

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

The company said last week it would close about 20% of its stores, cut its workforce and bring in new cash to stabilize the business as the holiday season approaches.

Mr Arnal has been involved in accelerating the retail chain’s drive to free up cash for the business. The company introduced a refreshed model that required less inventory to fill the shelves under its watch.

Bed Bath & Beyond has struggled under a strategy introduced by former CEO Mark Tritton to replace popular brands with private label items. Mr Tritton left the company in June. Last week, the company said it would focus more on national brands after spending millions to develop private label products.

The company has been running out of cash for several quarters. The company’s shares took a hit on August 18 when billionaire activist investor Ryan Cohen unloaded his entire stake in the company, about five months after initially acquiring his shares.

On August 31, the company announced that it had secured $500 million in new funding. It also said it would cut its workforce and close underperforming stores.

Mr. Arnal held an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Venezuela and a master’s degree in finance from Universidad Metropolitana in Venezuela, according to the company’s website.

Mr. Arnal had joined Bed Bath & Beyond in April 2020 after working as CFO of beauty products company Avon and in senior positions overseas at Procter & Gamble. At the time, a spokesman for Bed Bath & Beyond said its deep knowledge of retail and consumer goods would help accelerate its transformation plans. He earned a salary of $775,000 before stock awards, securities filings show.

After years of declining sales, Bed Bath & Beyond is facing an existential crisis. WSJ’s Suzanne Kapner explains why the company has fallen on hard times and looks forward to what’s next for the veteran retailer. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann/WSJ

Write to Ginger Adams Otis at Ginger.AdamsOtis@wsj.com and Ryan Felton at ryan.felton@wsj.com

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