Leslie Wexner, the billionaire facing scrutiny for his ties to the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, will step down as CEO and chairman of L Brands as the company sells its struggling lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret. Wexner, 82, founded the company, which will sell a 55 percent stake of the $1.1 billio- valued lingerie brand to private equity firm Sycamore Partners. L Brands will hold the remaining 45 percent, according to a news release. “Les Wexner is a retail legend who has built incredible brands that are household names around the globe,” L Brands’ lead independent board director Allan Tessler said in a statement. The businessman hired Epstein, who killed himself in a jail cell last year, as a personal financial advisor for years and Epstein lured some of his victims by touting his links to Victoria’s Secret. Wexner has said he’s “embarrassed” about his relationship with the disgraced financier. The Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show was canceled last year as the brand faced criticism for upholding unrealistic beauty standards, poor-quality lingerie, and a lack of diversity among models. Additionally, The New York Times exposed earlier this month the brand’s culture of misogyny, harassment, and allegations of inappropriate behavior.
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