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Bed Bath & Beyond executive dies after jumping from high-rise

Gustavo Arnal, 52, the chief financial officer of Bed Bath & Beyond, died on Sept. 2. He fell from a New York City skyscraper known as the “Jenga” tower. (Video: Reuters)

The chief financial officer of financially struggling Bed Bath & Beyond died Friday after jumping from a New York City high-rise, authorities said.

Emergency medical workers at the scene confirmed the death of Gustavo Arnal, 52, after he fell from the 57-story skyscraper known as the “Jenga” tower, in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood.

New York police said in a statement Sunday that the investigation is ongoing. Monday evening, New York City medical examiner’s office spokesperson Julie Bolcer said the manner of Arnal’s death had been ruled a suicide.

Bed Bath & Beyond’s board chairwoman said the company is “profoundly saddened” by Arnal’s death.

“Gustavo will be remembered by all he worked with for his leadership, talent and stewardship of our Company. I am proud to have been his colleague, and he will be truly missed by all of us at Bed Bath & Beyond and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him,” Harriet Edelman said in a statement. “Our focus is on supporting his family and his team and our thoughts are with them during this sad and difficult time. Please join us in respecting the family’s privacy.”

Meme stock Bed Bath & Beyond crashes more than 40 percent

Arnal’s death comes amid economic turmoil for the chain and a recent lawsuit.

Last week, the Associated Press reported, the company announced that it would shutter about 150 of its stores and cut its workforce by 20 percent, estimating that the changes could save the company $250 million in its fiscal year.

In August, its stock plunged more than 40 percent after a 350 percent spike that month, The Washington Post reported, riding a wave of excitement from investors after billionaire Ryan Cohen took a large stake in the struggling retailer. The company’s stock went into a free fall for days when Cohen signaled that he would drop his shares. It closed Friday at $8.63, a 63 percent drop from its August peak of $23.08.

Meme stock Bed Bath & Beyond crashes more than 40 percent

A Securities and Exchange Commission filing confirmed that Cohen sold his entire stake in Bed Bath & Beyond, profiting more than $58 million, according to MarketWatch, after selling 7.78 million shares at weighted average prices ranging from $18.68 to $29.22.

Arnal sold 55,013 Bed Bath & Beyond shares in transactions between Aug. 16 and 17, according to Reuters’ calculations based on SEC filings. Those sales amounted to about $1.4 million, though Arnal still had about 255,400 shares remaining in the company, according to the outlet.

On Aug. 24, shareholders who said they had lost $1.2 billion filed a complaint alleging that Bed Bath & Beyond, Arnal and Cohen participated in a scheme to inflate the price of its stock to sell shares at a higher price.

“At all times Gustavo … controlled day to day affairs of BBBY, while Cohen, the largest BBBY shareholder who appointed three directors to BBBY’s board, a controlling person pursuant to Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act, has extensive involvement in management and decision making process through his ownership stake in BBBY and his appointed directors,” the lawsuit states.

Arnal joined Bed Bath & Beyond in May 2020 after serving in similar roles for Avon and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Before those positions, his LinkedIn page says he spent 20 years at Procter and Gamble, where he was CFO for the company’s India, Middle East and Africa region in his last three years there.

His onboarding at Bed Bath & Beyond was crucial to navigating the organization throughout the coronavirus pandemic, transforming the company’s financial foundation and building a strong and talented team, Bed Bath & Beyond said in a statement.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text a crisis counselor by messaging the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Hamza Shaban and Aaron Gregg contributed to this report.

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