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TRAGEDY AT BED BATH & BEYOND

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On Friday, Gustavo Arnal, the chief financial officer of Bed Bath & Beyond, jumped to his death from a high-rise apartment building in Manhattan, shocking the city and the business community. He was 52.

 

Bed Bath & Beyond said over the weekend that it was “profoundly saddened by this shocking loss.” On Tuesday, the company named Laura Crossen, its senior vice president of finance, as its interim CFO.

 

Shares plunged nearly 20% on Tuesday, the first day of trading since Arnal’s death was confirmed. A law enforcement source told CNN that Arnal’s wife witnessed him jump. No suicide note was found, and no criminality is suspected, the source said.

 

Arnal (pictured above) died just two days after the company announced it would lay off 20% of its staff and close 150 stores as it seeks to keep its business afloat.

 

Two weeks earlier, Arnal and other large shareholders were accused in a lawsuit of colluding on a pump-and-dump scheme to artificially inflate the company’s stock price. (The company said last month that it was reviewing the complaint but “believes the claims are without merit.”)

 

Arnal joined Bed Bath & Beyond in May of 2020, tasked with stabilizing the business at a time of upheaval for retailers because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Bed Bath & Beyond remains in deep financial turmoil, which has been compounded by allegations against Arnal and Ryan Cohen, the billionaire investor and meme-stock figurehead who took a 10% stake in the company in March before dumping all of his shares after only five months.

 

The lawsuit claims that Arnal and others made misleading statements and omissions when communicating to investors regarding the company’s strategic plans and financial condition, and delayed disclosures about holding and selling their own shares. The suit also alleges the stakeholders shared fake revenue numbers and company plans for spinning off its “Buy Buy Baby” brand to fuel a stock-buying frenzy.

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