After a four-month search, Bed Bath & Beyond announced its interim CEO, Sue Gove, will take on the role permanently. Gove, who previously served and will remain on the home goods retailer’s board of directors, stepped into the interim role after previous CEO Mark Tritton was fired in June.
Gove’s tenure as interim CEO has been marked with highs and lows. The company recently secured $500 million in financing for incremental liquidity, including an expanded asset-based loan facility of $1.13 billion and $375 million in the form of a first-in, last-out loan. But that good news was tempered with continuing earnings declines, the closing of more than 100 stores and the untimely death of former chief financial officer Gustavo Arnal who committed suicide in September.
“Sue is the best person to serve at the helm of Bed Bath & Beyond and continue leading the company,” said Harriet Edelman, independent chair of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.’s board of directors. “During her tenure as interim CEO, Sue took consequential actions to increase liquidity and establish the groundwork to improve customer loyalty, traffic and market share. Her intense focus on cash, and expertise in managing working capital and liquidity are matched by a great operating mind and further complemented by a new leadership team that brings deep merchant, omni, and digital expertise in modern retailing.”
Wall Street seemed less confident about the move, with premarket trades of Bed Bath & Beyond stock dropping 2 percent after rallying 24 percent the previous day.
“I look forward to continuing our important work alongside our highly engaged management team and board as CEO,” Gove said. “At Bed Bath & Beyond, we have never been more strategically and culturally focused, and I remain dedicated to executing on our back-to-basics philosophy, accelerating our performance, and focusing on financial returns. I am also pleased with the completion of our ATM Program, and possible launch of a new offering program, to further support and drive our strategic imperatives.”
Part of the strategy Gove has overseen during the past few months is a departure from the private brand strategy Tritton led and a return to focusing on national brands to help regain lost market share.
“To ensure our customers have access to an assortment of compelling brands, we are engaging our valued supplier community in new ways to strengthen relationships and foster collaboration,” Gove said. “I am energized by the initiatives underway to provide our customers with an exceptional shopping experience, easily accessible products and compelling values across our Bed Bath & Beyond, BuyBuy Baby and Harmon brands. We have a significant opportunity ahead and we intend to regain our dominance as a preferred shopping destination.”
Gove joined the Bed Bath & Beyond board as an independent director in 2019, following the exit of then-CEO Steve Tameras. A 30-plus-year retail veteran, Gove has served in a number of senior financial, operating and strategic roles, such as president and CEO of Golfsmith International Holdings and chief operating officer of Zale Corporation. Gove also serves as president of retail consulting and advisory firm Excelsior Advisors, LLC.