UNION, N.J. — Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has named Sue Gove, an independent director on the company’s board and chair of its strategy committee, the company’s interim chief executive officer. She replaces Mark Tritton, who has left his role as president, chief executive officer and board member, the company said Wednesday.
The move came as the retailer announced fiscal first-quarter results that included net sales that were down 25% compared to the prior-year period. Comparable sales were down 23% for the quarter, and the company reported a net loss of $358 million.
“After thorough consideration, the board determined that it was time for a change in leadership,” Harriet Edelman, the board’s independent chair, said in a statement. “Our banner’s heritage is built on the premise that when customers are shopping for the home, Bed Bath & Beyond is the perfect destination for unique solutions and inspiration. We must deliver that proposition for customers, drive growth, and unlock the value of the banners. Today’s actions address company performance, the macroeconomic conditions under which we are operating, and the expectations of the Board on behalf of shareholders. We are committed to addressing the urgent issues that have been impacting sales, profitability, and cash flow generation. We are confident Sue brings the right combination of industry experience and knowledge of Bed Bath & Beyond’s operations to lead the Company, focus our resources, and revise strategy, as appropriate.”
The company also announced that it has named Mara Sirhal as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Sirhal, who most recently served as Bed Bath & Beyond’s senior vice president and general manager for Harmon, as well as general merchandise manager of Health, Beauty & Consumables, will be responsible for driving the company’s omnichannel merchandising, planning, and owned brands strategies, while also retaining her position as general manager for the Harmon retail banner. Sirhal will report directly to Gove. She replaces Joe Hartsig, who is leaving the company.
“We appreciate Mark’s contributions over the past two and a half years,” Edelman said. “These include launching our transformation strategy, delivering returns to shareholders through the divestiture of non-core assets, investing in technology, infrastructure and digital capabilities and introducing Owned Brands. Under his leadership, the Company navigated well through the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping our Associates, customers, and communities safe and served. Joe was also a key member of our senior leadership team and instrumental in developing and implementing our product strategy. The Board of Directors recognizes and thanks both Mark and Joe for their leadership and wish them all the best for the future.”
These changes reflect the decision of the company’s thirteen independent board members, the company said.
“We must deliver improved results,” Grove said. “Our shareholders, associates, customers, and partners all expect more. We are committed to providing customers with a one-stop destination to meet their needs through our assortment, experience, and services, whether online or in stores. Top-tier execution, careful management of costs, greater supply chain reliability, prudent capital spending, a stronger balance sheet, and robust digital capabilities will all be important to our success. I’m eager to start working more closely with our leaders and our Associates across all banners to make the necessary strategy adjustments and create a brighter future for Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.”
The board has retained Berkeley Research Group (BRG), a leading retail advisory firm, to focus on cash, inventory and balance sheet optimization, the company said. In addition, Russell Reynolds, a nationally recognized search firm, has been retained to commence a search process for the permanent chief executive officer role.