Victoria’s Secret’s biggest problem may be L Brands leadership – Fixie News

Victoria’s Secret’s biggest problem may be L Brands leadership

L Brands, the owner behind the struggling Victoria’s Secret brand, needs to do more than reshuffle a few board seats to convince investors it’s ready for a comeback, critics say.

L Brands said late Thursday that it will add two new “independent” directors to the company’s board following criticisms that the previous 12-person board had been largely comprised of cronies of founder Les Wexner.

But the stock barely moved on the news in late trading — and critics continue to say the biggest problem is Wexner himself.

L Brands needs “the type of CEO that understands retail today and the possibility of retail,” Eleanor Bloxham, corporate-governance adviser with Value Alliance, told The Post.

“The culture won’t change until he has a more passive role,” retail consultant Gabriella Santaniello of A Line Partners told The Post of Wexner, credited as the man behind the famous Victoria’s Secret Angels.

Indeed, sales have been stagnant for years as Victoria’s Secret and its Angels — once the epitome of female sexiness — have struggled to remain relevant. The company’s overly padded bras and bejeweled underwear now compete with a trend toward more natural undergarments embraced by newer lingerie brands such as ThirdLove and Adore Me.

The stock plunged 28.6 percent over the last year as traffic to Victoria’s Secret US stores fall.

In addition to nominating two women to its board, L Brands agreed to de-stagger its board by 2021 — further eroding Wexner’s grip. It will also make New York hedge fund Barington Capital, which has called for Wexner to give up his dual titles as chairman and chief executive officer, a special adviser to the company.

Barington blasted the company in March for its largely male, entrenched board, many of whom have “strong ties” to Wexner, including his wife, Abigail, and his longtime “business adviser” Dennis Hersch.

L Brands declined to say which two directors will be removed to make way for the two new directors, Anne Sheehan, formerly with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, and Sarah Nash of manufacturing company Novagard Solutions.

The two new board members give L Brands, which also owns Bath & Body Works, a board that is 40-percent female.

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