L Brands CEO Les Wexner leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After around 57 years in the position
  • Praise for Wexner
  • Andrew Meslow taking over
  • Wexner made a lengthy statement and said 250 words

(exechange) — Columbus, Ohio, February 20, 2020 — Les Wexner, chief executive of L Brands, leaves. As announced by L Brands Inc. in a news release on Thursday, February 20, 2020, Leslie (Les) Wexner leaves his post as chief executive officer at the fashion retailer after around 57 years in the role.

It is the end of an era.

Les Wexner’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Andrew Meslow, most recently Chief Operating Officer of Bath & Body Works.

Les Wexner’s move is part of a management shake-up also involving the position of Chief Executive Officer of Bath & Body Works.

No reason given

In the announcement, L Brands did not explicitly explain the reason for Les Wexner’s move.

Precise information regarding Les Wexner’s future plans was not immediately available.

Transaction with Sycamore Partners

L Brands, Inc. (LB) and Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm specializing in consumer and retail investments, also announced a strategic transaction that is intended to deliver long-term value to L Brands shareholders by positioning Bath & Body Works as a highly profitable, standalone public company and separating Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Victoria’s Secret Beauty and PINK (collectively, Victoria’s Secret) into a privately-held entity focused on reinvigorating its market-leading businesses and returning them to historic levels of profitability and growth.

A Transaction Committee of the Board of Directors, consisting of independent directors Allan Tessler and Sarah Nash, led the review process resulting in the transaction, which has been approved by a unanimous vote of the L Brands Board of Directors. Under the terms of the transaction, Victoria’s Secret, with a total enterprise value of $1.1 billion, will be separated from L Brands into a privately-held company majority-owned by Sycamore. After taking into account certain liabilities, Sycamore will purchase a 55% interest in Victoria’s Secret for approximately $525 million. L Brands will retain a 45% stake in Victoria’s Secret to enable its shareholders to meaningfully participate in the upside potential of these businesses. The company intends to use the proceeds from the transaction, along with approximately $500 million in excess balance sheet cash, to reduce debt, and expects that its overall leverage, on an adjusted debt to EBITDAR basis, will be close to its current leverage ratio.

“Step down”

L Brands said: “Upon the closing of the transaction, Wexner will step down as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of L Brands.”

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in L Brands Inc.’s share price of 74% since January 2015.

In the position of CEO since 1963

Les Wexner became CEO of the Company in 1963.

He will remain a member of the Board as Chairman Emeritus.

Leslie H. Wexner, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of L Brands, Inc., was born Sept. 8, 1937, in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Russian immigrants.

As a child he watched his parents work hard – owning and operating a small store named “Leslie’s” in downtown Columbus.

He credits his parents with teaching him the importance of hard work, attention to detail and the belief that anything is possible.

After graduating from The Ohio State University (OSU) and serving in the Air National Guard, he worked in his parents’ business.

In 1963, Wexner founded what is now L Brands with one store located in the Kingsdale Shopping Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Known as “The Limited,” first year sales for the store were $160,000.

In the years that followed, Wexner expanded his business portfolio through both invention and acquisition, becoming a dominant U.S. retailer with numerous powerful brands and brand extensions.

Under Les Wexner’s leadership, L Brands has evolved from an apparel-based domestic specialty retailer to a $13.2 billion international company and segment leader with more than 80,000 associates focused on lingerie, beauty and personal care product categories.

Wexner has a profound interest in the development of tomorrow’s leaders through the works of Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership; the Wexner Foundation; and The Ohio State University.

His areas of community interest include The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center; the Columbus Partnership; Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University; Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus; and the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Columbus.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding the management change on a scale of 0 to 10.

exechange reached out to L Brands and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 8.2020 ($).