In what appears to be a suicide, Bed Bath & Beyond Chief Financial Officer Gustavo Arnal fell to his death from the 18th level of the famous high-rise, Jenga Tower, in Lower Manhattan Friday. The tragedy is made more poignant by the fact that his wife was in the apartment with him when the man jumped. According to the NY Post:
Bed Bath & Beyond exec Gustavo Arnal didn't say a word to his wife prior to seemingly falling into the air to die from their luxurious 18th-floor residence located in Lower Manhattan, The Post has learned. …. Arnal, 52, was also not able to leave a message explaining the fall, which took place when his wife was at the home with him at 12:00 a.m. the previous day, law enforcement sources reported on that on Sunday.
Arnal was facing negative reports on several fronts over the past few days and he has just been identified in the lawsuit worth $ 1.2 billion securities lawsuit. Insider describes:
The event [his death] was less than two weeks following the executive, being named in a federal class action lawsuit based on allegations of fraud in the securities industry insider trading, fraud, as well as breaching fiduciary duty as per court filings.
The complaint, filed on August 23rd in Washington, D.C. federal court, accuses Arnal and others of raising the price of the stock of the company.
In the meantime, the chain has been underperforming. It announced this week that it would be cutting its staff by 20 percent and shutting at least 150 locations. In August, the company's price of shares fell by 60 percent following the news of a lack of demand and issues with inventory.
Based on Seth Basham, a managing director of the investment and financial services business Wedbush Securities, Bed Bath & Beyond has been experiencing many of the same issues as other retailers in the furniture industry including a drop in sales as well as excess inventory that has to be removed.
He said that the company was also harmed due to an attempt to revamp its supply chain during the outbreak which resulted in a lack of stock on shelves in stores, as well an unsuccessful shift from the popular brands of national chains to private labels developed by the retailer.
Bed Bath and Beyond's chairwoman of the board Harriet Edelman said the company is “profoundly saddened” by the announcement of his death and added in the declaration:
Gustavo is remembered by everyone he had the privilege of working with due to his leadership ability and dedication to our Company. I am honored to have been his friend and he will be greatly missed by everyone in Bed Bath & Beyond and all those who had the privilege of getting to know him.
Arnal leaves his wife and two daughters. It's a devastating sad tale. Some suggest that his suicide may be a sign of his guilt for the fraud suit against him. However, that's speculation. He could have been overwhelmed by the difficulties of his company. We aren't sure. What we do know is that he was extremely upset to have thought of and then committed this depressing act. It is not a job that should be so crucial.