COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — Bath & Body Works Inc. will be searching for a new CEO.

Andrew Meslow will step down from that role with the Columbus-based retailer effective May 12 due to health reasons, the company announced late Wednesday.

Board Chair Sarah Nash has been appointed executive chair effective immediately and will assume the CEO role when Meslow departs in May.

The board is launching a national search to find a permanent CEO.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead this great company as CEO and be a part of the organization for nearly two decades,” Meslow said in the release. “As difficult as this decision was, I know I will be leaving this amazing company in highly capable hands with Sarah’s oversight, the deep and experienced bench of leadership and the most talented associates in the industry.”

Meslow was named CEO of both Bath & Body Works (NYSE: BBI) and what was then L Brands Inc. two years ago. He had been chief operating officer of the personal care and beauty brand prior to that. He oversaw the transition of the business after founder Les Wexner stepped down and as it split into two separate companies last summer – Bath & Body Works Inc. and Victoria’s Secret & Co.

Meslow worked at Ann Taylor Loft and was CFO of Banana Republic before he joined what was then Limited Brands in 2003. He spent time at Victoria’s Secret before moving to Bath & Body Works two years later, working as CFO, then chief administration officer then, in 2012, chief operating officer.

Nash, beyond her role as Bath & Body Works chair, is CEO and majority shareholder of Novagard Solutions and spent 30 years in investment banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co., retiring as Vice Chairman for Global Investment banking in July 2005.

“I am honored to take on the role of Executive Chair and Interim CEO while the Board completes a search for Bath & Body Works’ next leader,” continued Ms. Nash. “Through the separation and formation of Bath & Body Works as an independent company, I have had the pleasure of working with the company’s leadership team and am confident in our strong and deep team. The company delivered record performance in fiscal 2021, and we are well positioned for continued success.”

Bath & Body Works also Wednesday reported fourth quarter sales of $3.02 billion, an increase of 11% over fourth quarter 2020 and earnings per share of $2.27 compared with $1.96. Full-year sales increased 22% to $7.88 billion from $6.43 billion in 2020. Full-year earnings were $3.94 per share compared with $3.07.

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