The man who jumped to his death from the 18th floor of the iconic new Tribeca skyscraper known as the 'Jenga tower' in lower Manhattan has been identified as Gustavo Arnal, top executive at Bed Bath and Beyond. Arnal, 52, was the chief financial officer (CFO) of the troubled Bed Bath & Beyond.
Arnal killed himself just two days after Bed Bath and Beyond said that the company has started succumbing to the ongoing inflationary pressures and would lay off 20 percent of its workforce and close down 150 of its stores across the United States in the coming months.
Troubled Executive, Troubled Company
Arnal was also an executive vice president for the struggling home goods retailer and was disturbed by the company's decision to lay off so many people. According to sources, he decided to jump from the 18th floor of 56 Leonard Street on Friday, police sources said.
Just two days before Arnal's death, Bed Bath and Beyond revealed its plans to close down 150 of its roughly 900 stores and lay off 20 percent of its workforce. According to MarketBeat.com, Arnal reportedly sold more than 42,000 shares of the frequently referred-to "meme stock" company for $1 million just over two weeks ago.
However, Arnal still held 267,896 shares of the corporation at that time, which were worth just under $6.5 million.
It is not known what exactly led to Arnal's suicide. According to an NYPD spokesman, calls about the jump at 56 Leonard Street near Church Street started coming in approximately around 12:30 on Friday.
According to the New York Post, Arnal was identified as the jumper at the 57-story building on Friday afternoon. Apartments there can cost up to $50 million.
Arnal joined Bed Bath & Beyond in 2020 after shifting from the London-based cosmetics giant Avon, where he was also CFO, and had also spent 20 years at Proctor & Gamble. However, Bed Bath and Beyond was already struggling at that time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
when Arnal joined Bed Bath and Beyond, a company spokeswoman stated in a statement they were "bringing in world class talent to offer new perspectives, expertise and experience as we rebuild our business."
"Gustavo exemplifies this and his experience delivering business transformation at other leading companies, his deep knowledge of the retail and consumer goods space, as well as his energy and drive will help accelerate our transformation plans."
According to sources, it may be possible that Arnal had gone into depression due to his company's poor show amid the ongoing inflationary pressures and he decided to take his life after the company announced its layoff plans.
In 2021, he made more than $2.9 million via Bed Bath & Beyond, including $775,000 in salary and the rest in stock awards, according to InsiderTrades.com.
However, Bed Bath & Beyond has recently come under pressure. Following the company's announcement of a restructure that involves store closings, layoffs, and a potential public offering, shares of the corporation with headquarters in Union, New Jersey, lost about a quarter of their value on Wednesday.
The company said that it had secured new finance worth more than $500 million and that 20% of its workers will be laid off. About 150 of its name-brand stores will be shut down, while the buybuy BABY chain will remain.
Bed Bath & Beyond, previously seen as a "category killer" for home and bath products, has seen its fortunes wane. CEO Mark Tritton was ousted in June after first-quarter sales fell by 25 percent. The company hired Sue Gove, an independent board director, to replace him on an interim basis.
According to Gove, the shop is "continuing to see significant positive momentum and intended to build its deep heritage as a retailer."
Bed Bath & Beyond in its Wednesday update also predicted a bigger-than-expected 26 percent decline in same-store sales for the second quarter and announced it would keep the buybuy Baby division, which it had previously put up for sale.
GameStop Chairman Ryan Cohen, the largest shareholder in the firm until this month when he sold out of his 9.8% position, which sent shares falling, had supported efforts to sell buybuy Baby.
Bed Bath & Beyond used to be known for offering many customers 20% off coupons, but in recent years it has changed its focus to private-label goods, including kitchenware under the Our Table brand.
The chain is now ditching that strategy, nixing three of its private label brands, and reprioritizing national brands with labels including Calphalon, Ugg, Dyson, and Cuisinart underpinning that strategy, executives said on a conference call.