Avon population

The acting CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond was concerned for the well-being of the late chief financial officer. He discussed taking a break before he died, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The interim CEO and board members of Bed Bath & Beyond were concerned about the well-being of the chief financial officer before his death last week, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

Arnal has since been replaced by Laura Crossen, who served as the company’s senior vice president of finance and chief accounting officer.

The sources said Sue Gove, the interim chief executive, and several board members agreed Arnal had been overwhelmed. However, they chose not to replace him as the company tried to secure financing.

The Journal also reported that Arnal had discussed taking a break and that the conversation would resume after Labor Day weekend.

Arnal’s friends told the Journal he had been stressed at work, working up to 18 hours a day.

“I could see the stress he was feeling,” Jan Zijderveld, the former chief executive of Avon Products, told the Journal. Zijderveld dined with Arnal and Arnal’s wife less than two months before his death.

“He’s the kind of guy who carries the world on his shoulders,” Zijderveld said, adding that Arnal has a positive attitude and chose not to divulge details about his work.

Prior to his death, Arnal was named a defendant along with Bed Bath & Beyond, activist investor and GameStop chairman Ryan Cohen, and JPMorgan in a lawsuit seeking class action status August 23. The plaintiff, Pengcheng Si, charged them with securities fraud, insider trading and breach of fiduciary duty.

However, sources familiar with the matter told the Journal that records show Arnal and Cohen had no contact outside of conference calls with multiple executives. Cohen has not commented on the lawsuit.

Arnal had been with the company since 2020, just after the company’s profits began to decline in 2019 due to the rise in online shopping. He previously worked at Procter & Gamble and Avon.