The man largely responsible for the brand's homogenous, airbrushed and sexualized image is out.
Ed Razek is leaving Victoria's Secret and its parent company L Brands, according to an internal memo cited by a number of publications including the Wall Street Journal, CNBC and the New York Times. The memo, distributed by CEO Leslie H. Wexner, reportedly says Razek will be retiring. He was the company's Chief Marketing Officer, and a controversial one at that.
Responsible for a homogenous, airbrushed and sexualized brand image that is now largely seen as outdated, Razek provoked the most public ire with comments he made in a Vogue.com interview last November defending Victoria's Secret's casting practices, saying, among other things: "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." Despite all the outrage the comments received from the public, Razek remained in his powerful position until now. (However, Jan Singer, the brand's female CEO at the time, left shortly after the Vogue interview.)
Interestingly, the confirmation of Razek's departure comes on the same day that news began circulating that Victoria's Secret evidently hired its first-ever transgender model, Valentina Sampaio, who is working with VS Pink.
That news follows a bout of bad press surrounding Wexner's deep connections to accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. In addition to losing public favor, the brand's sales have also seen a decline that has led to store closures, while low ratings have led to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show being pulled off the air. This news may only be the beginning of a major overhaul.