Home furnishing and housewares company Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY -4.18%) may be heading in a fresh direction as it appoints a new chair for its board of directors, a move it announced in a press release yesterday. Experienced former Avon Products (AVP) executive Harriet Edelman will replace long-term chair Patrick Gaston, who will not seek reelection at the annual shareholders' meeting.
During Edelman's quarter-century at Avon, she fulfilled a number of roles, including helping to manage its global supply chain, sales and marketing, developing new products, and overseeing strategic business transformation.
In congratulating Edelman on her new post, CEO Mark Tritton noted she "has an unparalleled passion for our business and I look forward to working constructively with her and the Board as we continue to execute our vision together." Gaston, the outgoing chair, said he is "confident that we have assembled the right team, with a clear strategy to rebuild the foundations of the business."
The move is part of Bed Bath & Beyond's long-term strategy that was announced last April. At that time, the company said, "in response to shareholder feedback and in connection with its commitment to accelerating refreshment at the Board-level, the Company's Board of Directors is transforming" and would include nine independent directors out of the 10 total. Edelman was one of the five independent directors nominated to the board at that time.
A new chair with marketing and product development experience could be helpful in winning investor confidence for the retailer, which has struggled with product mix and branding in addition to COVID-19.