- The chief financial officer of Bed Bath & Beyond, Gustavo Arnal, died last Friday.
- The Wall Street Journal reported that the company’s CEO and some board members were concerned about the CFO.
- The Journal, citing unnamed sources, said Arnal was stressed and had been discussing taking time off.
The interim CEO and board members inside Bed Bath & Beyond had concerns about the wellbeing of the chief financial officer before his death last week, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the topic.
CFO Gustavo Arnal died last Friday after falling from a New York City building, just days after the retailer announced it would close down 150 of its stores and let a portion of its workforce go, Insider previously reported. The city’s medical examiner ruled that he died by suicide.
Arnal has since been replaced by Laura Crossen, who worked as the company’s senior vice president of finance and chief accounting officer.
The sources said that Sue Gove, the interim chief executive officer, and several board members agreed that Arnal had been overwhelmed. However, they opted not to replace him while the company was trying to secure financing.
The Journal also reported that Arnal had discussed taking a break and that the conversation would be picked up after the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Friends of Arnal told the Journal that he had been stressed at work, working up to 18 hours a day.
“I could see the stress on him,” Jan Zijderveld, the former chief executive of Avon Products, told The Journal. Zijderveld ate dinner with Arnal and Arnal’s wife less than two months prior to his death.
“He’s the sort of guy who carries the world on his shoulders,” Zijderveld said, adding that Arnal had a positive attitude and chose not to disclose particulars about work.
Before his death, Arnal was named as a defendant — with Bed Bath & Beyond, activist investor and GameStop Chairman Ryan Cohen, and JPMorgan — in a lawsuit seeking class-action status on August 23. The plaintiff, Pengcheng Si, accused them of securities fraud, insider trading, and breach of fiduciary duty.
Though, sources familiar with the matter told The Journal records show that Arnal and Cohen did not have contact outside of conference calls with multiple executives. Cohen has not commented on the lawsuit.
Arnal had worked at the company since 2020, just after the company’s profits started shrinking in 2019 due to the uptick in online shopping. He previously worked at Procter & Gamble and Avon.