Rather fail with honor than succeed with fraud.
Gustavo Arnal, the Chief Financial Officer of Bed, Bath and Beyond, leaped to his death from the 18th story of a Manhattan office tower on Friday. He was 52 years old.
Arnal joined Beth, Bath & Beyond in 2020 and was well compensated. His 2021 income was $2.9 million. Last month he sold company stock worth $1 million.
The shares of Bed, Bath & Beyond, where Arnal worked, are labeled as a meme stock whose price has bounced around like a ping pong ball in recent months. As the stock gyrated up and down, some people got rich, and others lost a lot of money.
Arnal's death brings up images of the 1929 stock market crash when a few people jumped out of windows as their wealth evaporated over the course of a few hours.
No one can say with certainty why someone commits suicide, but it is always a response to despair. My guess–and I think it is a good one–is that Gustavo Bernal was an honorable man who could not cope with a financial mess he did not create.
Perhaps he exemplifies Sophocles's observation that it is better to fail with honor than to succeed by fraud.