Lee Delaney, President and CEO of BJ's Wholesale Club, Passes Away
Lee Delaney, president and CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club, passed away unexpectedly last week, due to presumed natural causes, the company announced Friday. He was 49. Bob Eddy, executive vice president, chief administrative and financial officer, has been named interim CEO by the board of directors, effective immediately. Additionally, Christopher J. Baldwin, chairman of the board of directors, has been appointed executive chairman.
"We are shocked and profoundly saddened by the passing of Lee Delaney,” said Baldwin, on behalf of the board, in a statement. “Lee was a brilliant and humble leader who cared deeply for his colleagues, his family and his community. We extend our most heartfelt condolences and sympathy to his family, especially his wife and two children. We will honor his legacy and remember the extraordinary impact he had on so many. Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.”
Delaney became CEO of BJ’s in February 2020, joining the board at that time as well. In 2016, Delaney joined BJ's as executive vice president and chief growth officer, and was promoted to president in 2019. Before joining BJ’s, Delaney was a partner in the Boston office of Bain & Company from 1996 to 2016.
Total Retail's Take: The death of Lee Delaney sent shockwaves through BJ's and the entire retail industry. “We are extremely shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Lee Delaney," said NRF's President and CEO Matthew Shay. "We were privileged to have Lee as an active, valued, trusted and thoughtful member of the NRF executive committee and board of directors. He was a great leader who cared deeply about the company, his team and the communities they serve."
Indeed, Delaney was known as a humble, thoughtful and intellectual leader who helped guide BJ's Wholesale Club through the unexpected changes in consumer demand spurred by the pandemic. In fact, within weeks of the pandemic, memberships and sales soared and the company flexed new capabilities in digital shopping options. Delaney was also a strong proponent of growing BJ’s beyond its East Coast base, pioneering a forthcoming move to the Pittsburgh market and expanding further into Michigan and eyeing more new stores than the company had built in many years.