New York (CNN Business) — Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond plunged nearly 20% in midday trading after the death of one of its top executives.
Gustavo Arnal, the troubled retailer’s chief financial officer, jumped to his death from a high-rise apartment in Manhattan on Friday afternoon, a police source told CNN. New York police said in a statement Sunday that Arnal, 52, was found unconscious and unresponsive outside his luxurious 57-story skyscraper in the Tribeca neighborhood.
The police source told CNN on Sunday that Arnal’s wife witnessed his jump. The source said that although no suicide note was found, no crime of any kind is suspected.
Bed Bath & Beyond is “deeply saddened by this shocking loss,” a company spokesperson said. In a statement on Sunday, Bed Bath & Beyond Independent Board Chair Harriet Edelman said: “I wish to extend our deepest condolences to Gustavo’s family.”
“We are focused 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,” Edelman said. Arnal joined Bed Bath & Beyond in May 2020 after a career in finance at Avon, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Procter & Gamble.
Arnal was named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit accusing him, Ryan Cohen and other major shareholders of participating in a market manipulation scheme to artificially inflate the company’s share price. The lawsuit was filed last month in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
The lawsuit alleges that Arnal and others made misleading statements and omissions in communicating the company’s strategic plans and financial condition to investors, and delayed disclosing the holding and sale of their own shares. The suit also claims the defendants shared false earnings figures and company plans to spin off its “Buy Buy Baby” brand to fuel a stock-buying frenzy.
Bed Bath & Beyond is in a deep financial storm. The company is trying to stay afloat and stay out of bankruptcy by shrinking. The chain said last week that it will lay off about 20% of the company’s employees, close about 150 stores and cut several of its housewares brands. The company also said it had raised more than $500 million in financing to improve its financial situation.
On Tuesday, the company named Laura Crossen, its senior vice president of finance, as interim chief financial officer, and she will continue to serve as chief accounting officer.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or mental health problems, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 to speak with a trained counselor or visit the NSPL site.
Outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention provides a global directory of international resources and hotlines. You can also turn to Befrienders Worldwide.
See here the lines of attention and prevention of suicide in Latin America and Spain.
— Brynn Gingras, Liam Reilly, Ramishah Maruf and Samantha Beech contributed reporting.