Bed Bath & Beyond is remodeling its board.
On Monday, the retailer announced it was updating its board with five new faces, while other members, including Bed Bath & Beyond cofounders Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein, will retire their seats on the board. The transformation brings the total board count to 10 people. Previously there were 12 members.
Four of the five new faces, who begin May 1, are women, bringing the total number of women on the board to six. In addition, the board is composed of nine independent directors and Patrick Gaston, the current lead independent director, has been named independent chairman.
“As we have communicated to Bed Bath & Beyond shareholders, the board has been undertaking a comprehensive review of its composition, governance structure and compensation practices,” Gaston said in a statement. “The changes announced today reflect significant shareholder input and underscore our commitment to ensuring we have best-in-class governance.”
The news comes as activist investors continue to pressure the big-box retailer, known for its home goods and bedding offerings, to adapt to a changing retail landscape. As recently as last month, three investors — Legion Partners Asset Management, Macellum Advisors GP and Ancora Advisors — suggested the company needs to shake up the board with members that have more diverse backgrounds and varying degrees of experience.
According to a company statement, the new Bed Bath & Beyond board has an average tenure of fewer than four years. The company also said it invited the three activist investors to “participate in the board transformation process and to offer their ideas for business and operational improvement. To date, the activist group has declined this invitation, but [Bed Bath & Beyond] remains open to engaging in constructive dialogue with them,” according to the statement.
But the shake-up on Bed Bath & Beyond’s board comes just days after L Brands Inc., parent company to Victoria’s Secret, announced it had reached an agreement with activist investor Barington Capital Group to add two board members and serve as a “special adviser” to the company.
Victoria’s Secret, also facing declining sales and lower share prices, has been under pressure to revise its board.
In the case of Bed Bath & Beyond, company shares are down nearly 80 percent since early 2015, according to a regulatory filing Legion Partners filed with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission earlier this month. Legion Partners owns approximately 5 percent of Bed Bath & Beyond common stock.
“We fully appreciate that asking for control, let alone the removal of an entire board, is no trivial matter,” the SEC filing reads. “However, in our view, there is an urgent need for wholesale board and leadership changes at Bed Bath [& Beyond] before the company’s failures become irreparable.
“[Bed Bath & Beyond] may try to argue that we are seeking a level of board representation that is disproportionate to our 5 percent ownership interest in the company. It is important to understand, however, that this election is not about the investor group versus the current board. This election is about what is best for the company and its shareholders,” the SEC filing stated.
Bed Bath & Beyond did not have any further comments.
Shares of the retailer closed down 3.96 percent Monday to $16.72 apiece.