The top-level Bed Bath & Beyond executive who apparently jumped off a Tribeca high rise was a well-regarded businessman whose career spanned across the globe before his sudden death on Friday.
Gustavo Arnal was hired by Bed Bath & Beyond in May 2020 and credited with helping get the New Jersey-based retail giant through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said in a statement Sunday.
The exec came aboard as chief financial officer and executive vice president after “a distinguished global career in finance” that included working at several other well-known businesses,” the company stated Sunday.
Arnal came from cosmetic company Avon where he was also named the executive vice president and CFO starting in spring 2019, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier. He was at Walgreens Boots Alliance before that, serving as senior vice president and CFO of international divisions and global functions, the Business Courier said.
Both of those gigs were based in London.
But most of his career was at Procter & Gamble where he spent 20 years holding various positions and working with brand names including Pringles potato chips and Tide detergent.
The husband and father of two adult daughters was CFO of the company’s India, the Middle East and Africa business where he oversaw operations in more than 50 countries, the Cleveland Business Journal reported in May 2020.
When Arnal was announced as Bed Bath & Beyond’s newest hire, he said the company had to build “on the strong foundations of this business with a new, robust and sustainable business model,” the Cleveland Business Journal reported.
He also reportedly said he looked forward to working as a “catalyst for the cultural and financial change in the business.”
But the houseware company has struggled mightily recently and is expected to close 150 stores and terminate 20% of its workforce after an announcement about its restructuring came days before his death.
Arnal was also included in a recent lawsuit that accuses him, Chewy.com founder Ryan Cohen and others of artificially inflating the retail’s share price.
The class action was filed Aug. 23 in Washington, DC.
The company’s board of directors chairman Harriet Edelman said in part of his statement Sunday about the shocking death, “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.”
Arnal graduated from Simón Bolívar University of Venezuela with a mechanical engineering degree and got his master’s degree in finance from the Metropolitan University of Caracas, the multilingual news site swissinfo.ch reported.
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