NATICK, Mass.—As rumors continued to circulate about a possible takeover, BJ’s Wholesale Club announced several personnel and operational moves this morning.
Robert Eddy, senior vice president and director of finance, and Cornel Catuna, senior vice president of field operations, have been promoted. Eddy will assume the post of executive vice president and chief financial officer, and Catuna will become executive vice president of club operations. Both appointments will take effect Feb. 1, and both executives will report to Laura Sen, president and chief executive officer.
Eddy will succeed Frank Forward, and Catuna will succeed Thomas Gallagher. Both Forward and Gallagher will retire effective Jan. 29.
In a separate statement also issued this morning, the warehouse-club retailer also said it will close five underperforming clubs by the end of this month, and restructure its home office and certain field operations. The clubs to be closed include three in the Atlanta market, one in Sunrise, Fla., and one in Charlotte, N.C., and will result in the layoffs of 380 employees in those clubs, according to BJ’s spokeswoman Kelly McFalls. The restructurings will result in the layoffs of 61 home-office employees and 53 employees in the field operations, McFalls said.
McFalls also said the company can’t comment on press reports from last week, which said Leonard Green & Partners, which reportedly holds a 9.1 percent stake in BJ’s, is planning a hostile bid to take over the retailer. The stories helped fuel a 6 percent rise in BJ’s stock price from early last week until the end of the week. Over the past two days, the stock price has fallen 2 percent to $47 at the opening of today’s trading.