Victoria’s Secret To Be Sold, CEO Will Step Down
The news follows several years of controversy and declining sales.
Victoria’s Secret—a company that once defined society’s unrealistic sexual ideal—is being sold, and its CEO Les Wexner is stepping down. The company has recently taken multiple hits to its following and reputation after criticism heightened around their lingerie and styles not reflecting most body types.
Wexler, 82, has been the chief executive of Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands for 57 years, but recently came under scrutiny for his ties with late, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted on sex-trafficking charges in 2019.
According to a Yahoo Finance report, private-equity firm Sycamore Partners will buy 55% of Victoria Secret. Bath & Body Works will become a standalone public company with L Brands and Victoria's Secret will go private.
“We believe the separation of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Victoria’s Secret Beauty and PINK into a privately held company provides the best path to restoring these businesses to their historic levels of profitability and growth,” Wexner said in a statement. "Sycamore, which has deep experience in the retail industry and a superior track record of success, will bring a fresh perspective and greater focus to the business.”
The news follows several years of controversy and declining sales. The rise of more inclusive lingerie brands like ThirdLove and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty caused customers to start turning away from Victoria’s Secret, and the brand’s sales to start declining in 2017. A now-infamous Vogue article with L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek was then published in 2018, in which he stated that he didn’t think the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show would ever feature a transgender model.
“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show?’ No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is,” he stated.
The article led to immense backlash and resulted in Razek quitting.
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was officially cancelled in 2019. The show, known for being an indulgent spectacle celebrating notably non-realistic body types, had its last run in 2018 with historically low ratings.