BJ’s Wholesale Club announced that president and CEO Lee Delaney died unexpectedly yesterday “due to presumed natural causes.”
Bob Eddy, EVP, chief administrative and financial officer, has been named interim CEO by the board of directors, effective immediately.
“We are shocked and profoundly saddened by the passing of Lee Delaney. Lee was a brilliant and humble leader who cared deeply for his colleagues, his family and his community," said Chris Baldwin, executive chairman of the board of directors, in a statement. "We extend our most heartfelt condolences and sympathy to his family, especially his wife and two children. We will honor his legacy and remember the extraordinary impact he had on so many. Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.”
Delaney was named president of BJ's in 2019. He joined the retailer in 2016 from Bain & Company, and also previously held roles at Electronic Data Systems and Deloitte Consulting.
News of Delaney's death prompted notes of shock and condolences on social media from BJ's associates and other retail industry members, who recalled him as brilliant, an innovator and wonderfully down to earth. Hormel Foods left a message on BJ's LinkedIn announcement of Delaney's death that shared condolences to his family on behalf of its 20,000 global team members, and Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation president/CEO, released a statement from the trade association:
“We were privileged to have Lee as an active, valued, trusted and thoughtful member of the NRF executive committee and board of directors. He was a great leader who cared deeply about the company, his team and the communities they serve,” said Shay. “Lee will be greatly missed by his friends at NRF and within the industry. We have his colleagues, and especially his family, in our thoughts and our prayers.”
Eddy joined the company in 2007 and was named EVP, CFO in 2011, taking the role of chief administrative officer in 2018. As part of these changes, Baldwin has also been named executive chairman.
“Bob partnered closely with Lee and has played an integral role in transforming and growing BJ’s Wholesale Club,” said Baldwin. “We have the utmost confidence in Bob’s leadership and his deep knowledge of the business. We expect to announce permanent changes to our leadership within a reasonably short timeframe, aided by our prior succession planning.”