Jonathan Johnson, who steered Overstock.com’s transformation into the new Bed Bath & Beyond, has departed the company on the day, November 6, it officially changed its corporate name to Beyond, Inc.
Johnson, as Overstock CEO, oversaw the acquisition of Bed Bath & Beyond’s intellectual property, the relaunch of bedbathandbeyond.com, the changing of the corporate name and a recently announced plan to expand the company’s retail business.
Johnson (pictured above) also will relinquish his seat on the Beyond board of directors.
Beyond stated Johnson’s departure follows a mutual agreement between him and the board that the company should transition to new leadership. Beyond added Dave Nielsen, the company’s president, would become interim CEO and the board had initiated an internal and external search process to hire a permanent CEO. Beyond has also expanded the role of Adrianne Lee, CFO, who now will supervise legal and human resources functions in addition to the finance organization.
What was Overstock originally announced its acquisition of Bed Bath & Beyond intellectual property in June and indicated it would change the company’s domain name to Bed Bath & Beyond. The company almost immediately changed from the Overstock to the Bed Bath & Beyond domain name in Canada, then did so in the United States on August 1. In late October, the company announced it would change its corporate name to Beyond. At the same time, it revealed chief marketing officer Angela Hsu would leave the company. On October 26, in a conference call in association with third-quarter results, Johnson said the company would revive the Overstock banner in its original form as a clearance operation that would be part of an envisioned portfolio of developed and acquired retail brands in addition to Bed Bath & Beyond.
As the sequence of events unfolded, on October 12, activist investor JAT Capital Management announced in a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission that it had acquired a 9.1% stake in what was then still Overstock. JAT sent a letter to the company board asking it to revamp management and appoint new board member Marcus Lemonis to an elevated position, preferably as executive chairman. Lemonis is chairman and CEO of Camping World, an RV and outdoor retailer and affinity group.
“Following the recent acquisition of the Bed Bath & Beyond brand and our corporate renaming as Beyond, Inc. the board and Jonathan determined that this is the ideal time for a transition in leadership to guide the company forward,” said Allison Abraham, Beyond board chairman. “Jonathan has been integral to the company’s successful evolution over more than two decades of service. We thank him for his leadership, foresight and immense contributions that helped build the company into the leading online furniture and home furnishings retailer that it is today and is now poised to capture greater opportunities in the future.”
Johnson maintained, “I am incredibly proud of all that we have achieved to transform the company since becoming CEO, evolving to a leading online home retailer with an iconic name and a large, growing consumer base. 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. It has been an honor to work with such an exceptional team. I am confident the company is well-positioned to achieve broader popular reach as a bigger and better Beyond.”
Abraham also commented on the board’s confidence in Nielsen as the right person to undertake the current phase of the company’s transformation.
“(Nielsen) is currently responsible for key functions across the organization and will continue to lead our ongoing strategic initiatives in addition to new ones,” she said, “We also look forward to Adrianne taking on greater administrative responsibilities along with her role as chief financial officer. Together, Dave (Nielsen) and Adrianne (Lee) have nearly 15 years of experience at the company and have the full support of the board. They possess the right expertise and talent to lead the organization and drive improved performance while the board focuses on identifying the new CEO.”