WSJ report: Wexner possibly stepping down as CEO, looking to sell Victoria’s Secret brand

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Leslie Wexner is looking at the possibility of stepping aside as CEO of his company as well as selling the Victoria’s Secret brand. 

In the article released Wednesday, the discussions for both possibilities are ongoing, and a decision could be made in the coming weeks. 

The reported talks come as Victoria’s Secret’s overtly sexy style has clashed with a new attitude from young women who want more inclusive fits. And it’s facing increasing competition from lingerie online natives like Adore Me and ThirdLove, which use more diverse models and offer more comfortable styles. While Victoria’s Secret has made some moves to change its marketing, the efforts haven’t been enough to stop sales declines. During the holiday season, Victoria’s Secret suffered a 12% drop in same-store sales.

Randal Konik of Jefferies said in an analyst note that he agreed that a “fresh perspective would likely be a positive in ‘righting the ship,'” but that there’s still significant challenges ahead for Victoria’s Secret, including increased competition and the brand relying heavily on promotions.

In recent years, Wexner’s relationship with financier Jeffrey Epstein has come under scrutiny.  

Epstein worked as Wexner’s personal finance manager and a document on file in Franklin County shows Epstein was given power of attorney over much of Wexner’s financial affairs in 1991. 

During his address to shareholders last year, Wexner called Epstein’s behavior “abhorrent” and “something that we would all condemn.” 

Wexner is the longest-serving CEO of an S&P 500 company, having served as CEO for more than five decades. He founded what would eventually become L Brands in 1963 with one The Limited retail store, according to the company’s website. Wexner owns approximately 16.71% of L Brands, according to FactSet.

A spokesperson with L Brands says they have no comment on the report.

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