Bed Bath & Beyond Inc’s chief financial officer fell to his death from New York’s Tribeca skyscraper known as the “Jenga” tower on Friday afternoon, police said, just days after a lawsuit alleged he was involved in a “pump and dump” scheme.
Gustavo Arnal, 52, joined Bed Bath & Beyond in 2020. He previously worked as CFO for cosmetics brand Avon in London and had a 20-year stint with Procter & Gamble, according to his LinkedIn profile.
On Friday at 12:30 pm ET (1630 GMT), police responded to a 911 call and found a 52-year-old man dead near the building who appeared to have suffered injuries from a fall. Police identified the man as Gustavo Arnal.
The police statement did not provide further details on the circumstances leading to Arnal’s death and said the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office would determine the cause of death. Bed Bath and Beyond confirmed his death in a press statement on Sunday but gave no details.
Arnal sold 55,013 shares in Bed Bath & Beyond in multiple transactions on Aug. 16-17, Reuters’ calculations showed based on SEC filings. The sales amounted to about $1.4 million, and Arnal still had almost 255,400 shares remaining.
On Aug. 23, the company, Arnal and major shareholder Ryan Cohen were sued over accusations of artificially inflating the firm’s stock price in a “pump and dump” scheme, with the lawsuit alleging Arnal sold off his shares at a higher price after the scheme .
The class action lawsuit listed Arnal as one of the defendants and was brought by a group of shareholders who claimed they lost around $1.2 billion.
The filing in the US District Court for the District of Columbia alleged that Arnal “agreed to regulate all insider sales by BBBY’s officers and directors to ensure that the market would not be inundated with a large number of BBBY shares at a given time.”
The lawsuit also alleged that he also issued materially misleading statements to investors.
The company did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
The death of the CFO was reported earlier by the New York Post while the lawsuit was reported first by the Daily Mail.
The big-box chain – once considered a so-called “category killer” in home and bath goods – has seen its fortunes falter after an attempt to sell more of its own brand, or private-label goods.
Last week, Bed Bath & Beyond said it would close 150 stores, cut jobs and overhaul its merchandising strategy in an attempt to turn around its money-losing business.
Bed Bath & Beyond forecast a bigger-than-expected 26% slump in same-store sales for the second quarter and said it would retain its buybuy Baby business, which it had put up for sale.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington and Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Deepa Babington)