Bed Bath & Beyond CEO steps down amid investor pressure, declining sales

Bed Bath & Beyond has announced another leadership change as part of a major shake-up this year.

Steven Temares is stepping down from his role as CEO and board member amid pressure from investors and declining sales, the company said in a statement Monday morning.

The home good retailer has been facing pressure from a group of activist investors who are unhappy with the company’s sluggish performance. Legion Partners, Macellum Advisors and Ancora Advisors had publicly called for Temares to be “immediately replaced.

Monday’s announcement comes a month after Bed Bath & Beyond released its latest quarterly earnings showing same-store sales decreased 1.4%. The company also announced in April it would close 40 stores and open 15 so-called “lab stores,” which focus on home décor, health and beauty products, and food and beverage. 

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Mary Winston, a former executive at Family Dollar Stores Inc. who recently joined Bed Bath & Beyond’s board of directors, will serve as interim CEO.

A search committee has been formed to recruit a new permanent CEO, with a focus on “individuals who have transformation and innovation experience in the retail sector,” according to the statement.

“As the Company continues its efforts to improve its financial performance and enhance its competitive position, the Board determined that now is the right time to identify the next generation of leadership,” recently appointed board chairman Patrick Gaston said in the news release.

The retailer sought to address investors’ concerns last month by appointing five new independent directors to its nine-member board and naming Gaston as chairman. Co-founders Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein also stepped down from the board and were named co-chairmen emeriti.

The investor group criticized the move, saying the changes were “not coupled with a strategic plan” and other ongoing initiatives were showing “little evidence of success.”

Temares worked for the company for nearly three decades.

“It has been a privilege to serve with my fellow associates for these past twenty-seven years,” he wrote in the statement. “It has always been, and will always be, about our people. There are truly no words to adequately express my gratitude to them and I will miss them immensely. I continue to trust in them and look forward to great accomplishments in the years to come.”

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