Lee Delaney, the president and CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club, died Thursday, the retailer announced Friday.
The company said in a statement his death was unexpected “presumed to be of natural causes.” He was 49 and leaves behind a wife and two children.
Delaney was named president in 2019 and then took on the role as CEO last year. He joined BJ’s in 2016 and was an executive vice president and chief commercial officer before becoming president.
A competitor to Costco and Sam’s Club, BJ’s has 221 clubs in 17 states, primarily on the East Coast. It’s headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts.
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“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,” Christopher Baldwin, executive chairman of the board of directors, said in a statement.
Bob Eddy, who has been the company’s finance chief since 2011 and with BJ’s since 2007, was named interim CEO.
“Bob partnered closely with Lee and has played an integral role in transforming and growing BJ’s Wholesale Club,” Baldwin said. “We have the utmost confidence in Bob’s leadership and his deep knowledge of the business.”
Baldwin said permanent changes to the company’s leadership are expected “within a reasonably short timeframe, aided by our prior succession planning.”
Contributing: Mike Elfland, Telegram & Gazette
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko