Shawn Cole, CFO Practice Leader asked by CFO DIVE about the tragic death of Bed Bath & Bath & Beyond’s CFO Gustavo Arnal.
Bed Bath & Beyond’s appointment of Laura Crossen as interim CFO has raised questions about the type of permanent finance leadership the company will need.
Just days after Bed Bath & Bath & Beyond CFO Gustavo Arnal’s death sent shockwaves across Wall Street and beyond, the home-goods retailer made the swift decision to look within its own ranks and pick chief accounting officer Laura Crosssen as its interim finance chief.
The move has stirred debate over the type of permanent finance leader Bed Bath & Beyond now needs, given the company’s litany of problems that include deteriorating finances, shares that have been roiled in part by “meme” stock volatility, a class-action lawsuit alleging the company and other defendants including Arnal artificially inflated its stock price and the death of Arnal Friday by suicide.
One thing that executive search experts agree on is that that the lack of permanent leaders at Bed Bath & Beyond — an embattled company now led by interim CEO Sue Gove who will work with Crossen — highlights the pressure that boards face and the complex decisions that they must quickly make when they lose a key C-suite leader like Arnal unexpectedly.
“Let this be a wake-up call to make sure a succession plan is in place,” Shawn Cole, president of the boutique executive search firm Cowen Partners, said in an interview.
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Cowen Partners is the nation’s executive search firm, enabling companies to harness the power of human capital to fuel their success. Cowen Partners gives our clients access to the top 1% of human capital to create opportunities that accelerate their growth and market share. With Cowen Partners, clients can grow at scale, create value, and drive results with world class talent. Our clients are both small and large, publicly traded, pre-IPO, private, and non-profit organizations.
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Shawn Cole is a serial entrepreneur and executive leader with over 15 years’ experience founding and running successful companies. Shawn’s business career has been centered on value creation for both turnarounds and startups.
Shawn is President and Co-Founder of Cowen Partners, a national CFO executive search firm focused on the key elements of a successful business: sales, marketing, and finance. Business clients across the country trust Cowen Partners to take their companies to the next level by finding them executive talent, such as a CEO, CFO, COO, Chief Revenue Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer. Clients are both small and large, publicly traded, pre-IPO, private, and non-profit organizations, typically $50 million to multi-billion dollar revenue Fortune 1000 companies or have assets between $1 billion and $15 billion.
An active participant in the business community and startup space, Shawn Co-Chairs The Cowen Partners Venture Fund which provides seed funding and early stage investments, focusing on market disruptors in niche markets, community businesses, and minority entrepreneurs.
Shawn attended Oregon State University’s College of Business Austin Entrepreneurship Program and participated in a first-of-its-kind experiential entrepreneurship experiment at Weatherford Hall. He was also a Founding Member and President of Oregon State University’s Students in Free Enterprise, an international non-profit organization working with university students who want to positively change their communities and learn practical knowledge to become socially responsible business leaders.
At the age of 16 Shawn became a volunteer firefighter and EMT, eventually founding and managing a half marathon to raise funds for the community. To date, the marathon is still a success and has raised over one million dollars benefiting the community.