Bed Bath & Beyond announced today that its CEO Steven Temares is stepping down, amid increasing pressure from activist investors pushing for changes at the company. Mary Winston, who was recently named to Bed Bath & Beyond's board, will serve as interim CEO until a replacement is found. The company said Temares is also resigning from Bed Bath & Beyond’s board.
The board has formed a CEO search committee to identify a permanent CEO and will retain an executive search firm to assist in the process. The board's search process will focus on individuals who have transformation and innovation experience in the retail sector. Patrick Gaston, independent chairman of the Bed Bath & Beyond board, said that 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. We are fortunate to have someone of Mary's caliber to serve as interim CEO while the board conducts a search for a permanent successor, and are confident in her ability to lead the company forward during this transition period."
Winston has held various roles in retail, including serving as CFO at Family Dollar Stores. She also was CFO at Scholastic, and is currently president at WinsCo Enterprises, a financial and board governance consulting firm, in addition to being a board member at Acuity Brands, Domtar and Dover.
Total Retail's Take: Today's news of a change in leadership at Bed Bath & Beyond isn't surprising. After all, as we reported last month, Bed Bath & Beyond shuffled its board of directors in response to pressure from activist investors Legion Partners Asset Management, Macellum Advisors and Ancora Advisors. The company recently appointed five new independent members to its board, including Winston. The activists had been pushing to replace the entire board and to oust Temares as CEO, who had been in the position since 2003, but had held various other roles at the company for nearly three decades. Temares has been criticized for not doing enough to get the retailer out of its sales slump. The investors were also critical of Bed Bath & Beyond for being slow to focus on its e-commerce business, allowing costs to increase in recent years, and relying on couponing too much. Most experts call the move a positive one, enabling the Bed Bath & Beyond board to choose a leader with a vision for competing more effectively in today’s consumer environment.