L Brands confirms Les Wexner to step down as CEO after closing of Victoria's Secret sale

This Sept. 19, 2014 file photo shows retail mogul Leslie Wexner, at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

L Brands has confirmed Les Wexner will step down as chairman and chief executive officer of the company after the closing of the sale of Victoria's Secret.

The company said a 55% interest of Victoria’s Secret will be sold to Sycamore Partners, which is a private equity firm.

L Brands will control 45% of Victoria's Secret.

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The total enterprise value of the sale is $1.1 billion, according to L Brands.

After the sale closes, Wexner will hold the title of Chairman Emeritus and will remain on the board.

In a statement from the company, Wexner said, "We believe this structure will allow Bath & Body Works – which represents the vast majority of 2019 consolidated operating income – to continue to achieve strong growth and receive its appropriate market valuation. The transaction will also allow the company to reduce debt.”

"We believe the separation of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Victoria’s Secret Beauty and PINK into a privately held company provides the best path to restoring these businesses to their historic levels of profitability and growth. Sycamore, which has deep experience in the retail industry and a superior track record of success, will bring a fresh perspective and greater focus to the business. We believe that, as a private company, Victoria’s Secret will be better able to focus on longer-term results. We are pleased that, by retaining a significant ownership stake, our shareholders will have the ability to meaningfully participate in the upside potential of these iconic brands," Wexner said.

Reports started circulating last month that Wexner was considering stepping down as CEO, to which an L Brands spokesperson told 10TV at the time, “We would not comment on any such rumors.”

Wexner is the longest-serving CEO of an S&P 500 company, having served as CEO for more than five decades.

He founded what would eventually become L Brands in 1963 with one The Limited retail store, according to the company's website.

According to a press release from L Brands, "the company expects to report a fourth quarter comparable sales decline of 2 percent, consisting of a positive 10 percent comp at Bath & Body Works and a decline of 10 percent at Victoria’s Secret."

L Brands said after the closing of the Victoria's Secret sale, Andrew Meslow will be the CEO of L Brands and Bath & Body Works.

Bath & Body Works will become a standalone company.

Meslow joined L Brands in 2003 and spent the last 15 years with Bath & Body Works.