Bed Bath & Beyond’s CEO is out. Will Marcus Lemonis take the job?

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The transition in leadership came on the same day that Overstock officially changed its name to Beyond, a move meant to capitalize on the recent acquisition and to leave behind consumer impressions of the Overstock brand. Dave Nielsen, who has been the company’s president since 2019, has been named interim CEO. The company has launched a search for a permanent leader.

JAT Capital Management, last Thursday, sent a letter to the company’s board, calling for Johnson’s departure, saying “the current CEO needs to be removed immediately. He has performed poorly (as demonstrated by the company’s financials relative to its peer group) [and] he has communicated poorly with investors and the sellside community.”

Johnson did not address that note in announcing his departure.

“I am incredibly proud of all that we have achieved to transform the company since becoming CEO,” he said. “As the company turns the page to become Beyond, now is the right time for me to also turn the page to the next chapter in my career. … I am confident the company is well-positioned to achieve broader popular reach.”

JAT, in its letter, called for board member Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World and star of CNBC’s The Profit, in which he turns around struggling businesses, to run Beyond—going so far as to say the interim CEO should report directly to him.

Analysts who follow the company, however, say they don’t expect Lemonis will want the job.

“I’d say the odds of Marcus Lemonis taking the CEO role are close to zero, BUT I expect him to shape the hiring decision for a CEO,” Michael Pachter of Wedbush tells Fast Company. “He has a full-time job as CEO of [Camping World], and is doing a great job there. I expect that a CEO with deeper retail and online experience can drive brand awareness. “

Pachter did note he hopes to see Lemonis elevated to chairman of the board at Beyond. (Disclosure: Pachter is a shareholder of Camping World.)

Beyond’s most recent earnings were mixed, with an unadjusted loss of $1.39 per share vs. a forecast of $1.04, as buying habits shifted from furniture and home furnishings to less expensive household goods. Johnson was nevertheless upbeat at the time, pointing to the company’s addition of 300,000 active customers, with new customers making up 25% of the quarter’s orders.

He also outlined a broad vision for the company’s future.

“We expect to be, over time, more than just a single e-commerce website,” Johnson said. “We have intentions over the next 15 months to reimagine and relaunch Overstock as a cross-category clearance and liquidation site, not competing with Bed Bath & Beyond, but truly being the liquidator that we started as 24 years ago.”

It’s unclear at this point if the company plans to continue along that path.

Pachter notes Johnson was “very good at logistics, vendor relationships, and managing the company’s expenses, but he was inexperienced in home goods retail and wasn’t particularly adept at keeping up with competitive pressures in a tough macro environment.”

Beyond did not immediately reply to Fast Company’s queries. 



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