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Ed Razek, the longtime Victoria's Secret marketing executive and the man largely credited for its fashion show and crew of Angels, has announced that he's retiring by the end of the month.
He broke the news to his colleagues via an email that L Brands, parent company of Victoria's Secret, shared with Glamour. "With the exception of Les [CEO Les Wexner], I’ve been with L Brands longer than anyone. I’ve loved every minute of it, and every one of you," Razek wrote. "I’ve appreciated your partnership, your energy, your teamwork, and your enthusiasm. You are, every one of you, a joy to work with, and a joy to be with. The best partners anyone could ever hope for. And I’ve loved coming to work here, every single day, for many, many years. But all good things must and do, inevitably, come to an end."
"A few weeks ago, I shared with Les my desire to retire sometime around mid-August. It was a tough conversation to have because, as some of you must know, we have shared so much together for so many years. Including a deep love of this business. Still, it’s time," he continued. "I want to thank all of you for the smiles, the hellos, the laughs, the mission. I could not be more lucky than to have been with all of you at this extraordinary and quite singular organization. I truly hope you know, deep in your hearts, how very special this place is. I do—more than ever."
Razek, who's been at the company since the '80s, has been a key figure in the highly sexualized, feminine beauty ideal put forth by the brand: He launched the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 1995 and has selected the models that are signed to its Angel spokesperson contract. Victoria's Secret has received criticism for its lack of body diversity over the years, and Razek himself has come under fire for comments he's made about plus-size and trans models.
In an interview with Vogue ahead of the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, he said: "It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? 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. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader. They don’t talk about each other. I accept that. I actually respect it. Cool. But we’re nobody’s third love."
Earlier this year, it was announced that the runway will no longer be televised, as it had been since 2001; and this summer, VS Pink hired its first openly transgender model to star in a campaign. According to Bloomberg,until they hire a replacement, two men will be filling Razek's role: Ed Wolf at L Brands, and Bob Campbell at Victoria’s Secret.
As for the future of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, in May the brand revealed it was "rethinking the traditional" format for 2019.
Originally Appeared on Glamour