Bed Bath & Beyond replaces CEO amid investor pressure

By RetailFOXBusiness

Activist investors take on Bed, Bath & Beyond

FBN's Lauren Simonetti on a trio of activist investors joining forces to get Bed, Bath & Beyond to replace its entire 12-person board.

Bed Bath & Beyond, facing escalating pressure from activist investors to revamp operations, overhauled its executive team on Monday, replacing its CEO with an interim chief as the struggling retailer seeks a permanent top leader.

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Board member Mary Winston will replace Steve Temares as CEO effective immediately, the Union Township, New Jersey-based firm said in a release. Temares, who is also resigning from the board of directors, was appointed to the top spot in 2003.

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BBBYBED BATH & BEYOND INC.8.35-0.39-4.46%

"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," Patrick Gaston, independent board chairman, said in the statement.

Bed Bath and Beyond also appointed new board member Andrea Weiss to lead a committee to review the firm's ongoing transformation efforts.

Legion Partners Asset Management LLC, Macellum Advisors GP LLC and Ancora Advisors LLC previously launched an effort to replace Bed Bath & Beyond's entire 12-person board with a slate of 16 nominees.

Amid the pressure, the company recently announced that two members would depart the board, decreasing the size to 10 individuals. The trio of activist investors labeled the move as "simply too little, too late" and submitted a revamped proposal with only 10 nominees.

"Bed Bath’s directors are seemingly attempting to mislead investors and create obstacles to prevent shareholders from participating in a fair process to elect the best directors for the company," the three firm's said in a statement at the time.

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Last week, Legion Partners filed a lawsuit against Bed Bath & Beyond, arguing that the company bypassed shareholder rights in overhauling the slate of directors.

"The company has never said that it would not approve the activist group’s candidates once they were finally named, but rather stated that the board was considering the request and would act in a manner consistent with the company’s obligations under the Indenture," Bed Bath & Beyond said in a statement in response.

"The activist group is asking the board to take actions that may expose the company and its shareholders to significant financial and operational risk," the company added.

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Shares of the home goods retailer have gained 39 percent this year. The company is facing challenges from online e-commerce startups.