Victorias Secret Lingerie replaces its CEO after bruising year of store closures and lawsuits

  • John Mehas, CEO of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie since February 2019, was replaced on Wednesday with no reason given by the company. 
  • Martin Waters, who has been with the company since 2008 will become CEO, effective immediately.
  • 2020 has been a difficult year for Victoria’s Secret, with lawsuits and store closures plaguing the business.
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On Wednesday, L Brands announced the CEO of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, John Mehas, would be replaced. 

L Brands — parent company for Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works — announced via press release that Martin Waters will step into the role. Waters has been with the company since 2008 and the change is effective immediately.

“Martin Waters is an experienced retail executive who has led our international business for the past 12 years,” said Sarah Nash, chair of L Brands’ Board of Directors, in the same statement. “He is an exceptional leader and is widely respected both within and outside of our business.”

Mehas joined Victoria’s Secret lingerie in February 2019 from Tory Burch, and has also worked for Gap, Bloomingdales, and others. His predecessor, Jan Singer, was also CEO for less than two years. Mehas was brought on in the hopes of breathing new life into the lingerie division.

No reason was given for Mehas’ departure. 

2020 has been a difficult year for Victoria’s Secret and L Brands as a whole, with the former closing 250 store locations in the US and Canada. L Brands has also laid off 850 employees, about 15% of its workforce from its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio in an effort to save money.

Read More: Victoria’s Secret is plotting a major turnaround as a private company. Here’s what went wrong with America’s lingerie darling.

As part of a rebranding effort, L brands sold a 55% equity stake in the company to Sycamore Partners, but the deal fell through after Sycamore filed a lawsuit claiming L Brands was in breech of contract for some of the measures taken during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

L Brands was also sued in June over allegations of a toxic culture of “sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation,” according to Bloomberg Law.

Shares of L Brands were trading down 1.8% at market close on Wednesday.

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