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L Brands’ longtime chief marketer to retire


Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands is losing its long-serving — and controversial — top marketer.

Edward Razek  is stepping down from his role as chief marketing officer. His retirement was announced in an internal memo sent to employees by L Brands CEO Leslie H. Wexner.

Razek, who has been with the company since 1983, played a key role in Victoria’s Secret’s marketing campaigns and its annual fashion show,  which has been criticized in recent years as being sexist and out of touch with contemporary sensibilities. His decision to retire comes eight months after he found himself at the center of a controversy over a Vogue interview in which he said Victoria’s Secret should not cast “transsexuals” in its fashion show “because the show is a fantasy.” (Razek later apologized for his “insensitive” remarks. The company has decided to no longer broadcast the show, whose ratings have been in decline, on network TV.)

In his note to employees, which was reviewed by the New York Times, Wexner said “there are few with Ed’s passion and talent in this industry.” Ed Wolf, L Brands’ senior VP of brand and creative, and Bob Campbell, VP of creative for Victoria’s Secret, will take over Razek’s responsibilities on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is found.

Victoria’s Secret has struggled to find its footing as consumers increasingly opt for lingerie brands that emphasize comfort, inclusion and diversity over overt sex appeal.  The brand cast its first transgender Victoria’s Secret model this week.

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