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Bed Bath & Beyond CEO resigns amid investor pressure

  • Longtime Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven Temares stepped down from his position following investor demand for his resignation. 
  • A trio of activist firms have openly criticized the former CEO for the company's "prolonged poor performance." 
  • Newly-appointed board member Mary Winston will take over as interim CEO until the board finds a permanent successor. 

Struggling to find its footing amid retail upheavals, Bed Bath & Beyond announced Monday that CEO Steven Temares stepped down from his position following activist investor demand for his resignation. Temares also resigned as a member of the company board.

Mary Winston, who recently was appointed to the company board, will take over as interim CEO until the board finds a permanent successor. Winston previously held executive vice president and chief financial officer positions at Family Dollar and Scholastic.

The company also announced Andrea Weiss will head a committee evaluating how to improve short- and long-term performance at the floundering retailer. Bed Bath & Beyond, which operates 1,533 stores worldwide, closed 21 stores in its last quarter.

Both Winston and Weiss were among five newly appointed independent directors to the company board on May 1, attempting to placate activist investor demand for fresh leadership at the struggling retailer. 

A trio of activist investor firms, Legion Partners Holdings, Macellum Advisors and Ancora Advisors, openly criticized the longtime CEO and blamed him for flagging sales at the company. After its own list of nominees were kept off the board, the firms filed a lawsuit last week against Bed Bath & Beyond.  

"CEO Steven Temares must be held accountable for the company's prolonged poor performance and destruction of shareholder value," the activist investor firms had said in a joint statement April 22.

"We will therefore continue to move forward with our campaign to install fresh, experienced and independent oversight and management at the company," they continued. Bed Bath & Beyond had called the lawsuit "disingenuous." 

Come Monday, the retailer said it will be looking for CEOs who have "transformation and innovation" experience in the retail sector, particularly looking to enhance in-store and online experience for customers.

"The Board determined that now is the right time to identify the next generation of leadership," Patrick Gaston, independent chairman of the Bed Bath & Beyond Board, said in a statement.

Shares in Bed Bath & Beyond were down more than 6% Monday to about $14.70 a share. 

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