Bath & Body Works CEO to step down; Q4 sales rise 11%

Marianne Wilson
Marianne Wilson profile picture
Andrew Meslow is stepping down as CEO of Bath & Body Works.

In a move that caught the industry by surprise, the chief executive of Bath & Body Works is leaving in May.

The retailer said that Andrew Meslow will step down as CEO and as a member of the board due to health reasons, effective May 12. Board chair Sarah E. Nash, an investment banking veteran, will assume the role of interim CEO upon Meslow’s departure. She has also been appointed executive chair, effective immediately. The board plans to retain a national search firm to assist in identifying a permanent CEO.

Meslow joined Bath & Body Works as CFO in 2005. He was appointed COO in 2012 and took the reins as CEO at then-L Brands in 2020. As chief executive, Meslow led the company as Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works were separated into two independent public companies.

“After much consideration and many discussions with my family, I have decided to step down as CEO so that I can focus on my health,” Maslow said. “As difficult as this decision was, I know I will be leaving this amazing company in highly capable hands with Sarah’s oversight, the deep and experienced bench of leadership and the most talented associates in the industry.”

In a statement, Nash commented that through Maslow’s tenure as CEO, and COO prior to that, he has led the Bath & Body Works team in strengthening the company and creating extraordinary value, which was only reinforced with the completion of the separation of Victoria’s Secret and launch of Bath & Body Works as a standalone company.

“Andrew has been a tremendous leader for the organization and has made important contributions throughout his tenure,” she said. “His vision, guidance and commitment to building a positive culture has positioned Bath & Body Works as an industry leader.”

Fourth quarter
News of Maslow’s departure came the same day that Bath & Body Works released its fourth-quarter results. The company’s net sales rose 11% to $3.027 billion for the quarter ended Jan. 29. Earnings per share were $2.27, compared to $1.96 for the year-ago period.

For the full year, net sales increased 22% to $7.882 billion.

“We are very pleased to have delivered record sales and earnings results for both the fourth quarter and full-year 2021, particularly given the continued dynamic operating environment,” Maslow stated in the earnings release. “Our confidence in the business and our positive momentum is reflected in the board’s recent authorization of a new $1.5 billion share repurchase program and 33 percent increase to our annual dividend.”

Bath & Body Works has more than 1,750 company-operated Bath & Body Works locations in the U.S. and Canada, and more than 300 international franchised locations.